Exceptional patient care and community service have always been at the heart of the University of Windsor’s nursing program, although now more than ever resilience, strength, and fortitude define their training.
Since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, UWindsor nursing students have not only adapted to rapidly changing conditions in their classrooms and in the hospitals where they serve their placements, but they have helped to fill critical patient care gaps in the community.
They were called upon to complement and support health teams already established through a hospital hub, and are providing care in long-term care settings, retirement homes, agri-farms, and other congregate living settings.
“It has been an enriching and enlightening opportunity as a student, to be working in public health and seeing first-hand how COVID-19 has affected the community,” says Tashfeen Saeed, a fourth-year BScN student.
“First, we were at the Temporary Emergency Shelter Aquatic Centre, which became the temporary home to all those who were seeking help from the Downtown Mission Initiative and were displaced. Currently, we are now vaccinating the migrant worker population as well as other community members in the area, and also swabbing and testing for COVID.”
Debbie Sheppard-LeMoine, dean of the Faculty of Nursing, says the pandemic has brought to public attention the diverse roles that nurses lead.
“Our nursing students have been working side-by-side with health care professionals in the most complex care situations — in hospitals and communities locally, while also bringing compassion with generous hearts to patients and families,” she says.
Over the past year, they have held 1,572 clinical placements in Essex, Kent, and Lambton counties — an essential part of their training, and an infusion of 142,560 in service hours to regional hospitals.
Dr. Sheppard-LeMoine says she is grateful for the spirit of collaboration the University has enjoyed with the hospitals, and credits outstanding support and mentoring by nursing staff and faculty.
“This has been the most unique time that will shape the future generations of nurses who, I believe, have hope for the future,” she says. “Let’s embrace them; they have been amazing, and we are truly Windsor proud of our graduating nursing students and those who are following.”
The partnership is just one of the benefits provided to the community highlighted in an Economic Impact Assessment by auditing firm KPMG. Find more information in the full document.