Caitlin Schmitt

Caitlin Schmitt is a senior in the nursing program at Iowa State and emergency department nurse at Mary Greeley Medical Center. 

Editor's note: This is part of a contributed collection of students and faculty experience with COVID-19. 

Students in the Iowa State nursing program find a balance as an essential worker as well as a student. 

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Iowa State has been active since the first students were admitted in the fall of 2018. The program is designed for registered, working nurses who meet one day per week with the goal to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Caitlin Schmitt, a senior in the nursing program at Iowa State and emergency department nurse at Mary Greeley Medical Center, said the program has adjusted its coursework to at-home projects. 

“We aren't physically able to be together, but Zoom has allowed us to have class as normal as we can,” Schmitt said. “[...] We also have had field trips that have been canceled due to COVID-19. I was very much looking forward to attending these. Our last field trips were such an eye-opening experience.” 

Schmitt said many of her fellow nursing students were set to go to Thailand and Cambodia.

“Many students were looking forward to this life-changing experience,” Schmitt said. “COVID-19 has thrown many curveballs at the nursing faculty at Iowa State, but they have all done a wonderful job adapting to the changes and planning alternative arrangements."

Schmitt is also a nurse in the emergency department at Mary Greeley Medical Center and has been preparing for the impact of COVID-19. 

“The census has been eerily low [and] we are all preparing for the worst and hoping for the best,” Schmitt said. 

Along with the trip cancellations, spring commencement ceremonies for undergraduates, graduate students and veterinary medicine students were canceled. Campus leaders are working on plans for a live streamed graduation address in May.

“I am also thankful that I do not graduate until this fall,” Schmitt said. “I feel for those that were supposed to have [graduation] commencement this spring. Commencement is a big day for many and isn't the same experience virtually.”

Schmitt said she has been communicating with her family through Zoom. 

“We met on Zoom during Easter to celebrate, it was a little different than normal, but I was thankful to see all of my family,” Schmitt said. “I am thankful for the health of my loved ones and that I have the chance to make a difference during this pandemic. It is a blessing not having to ‘work’ a day in my life. I love my profession and couldn't fathom doing anything else.”

Editor's note: 

An earlier version of this article stated Schmitt was set to go to Thailand with her classmates. The article has been corrected to Schmitt said her fellow nursing students were set to go to Thailand. The Daily regrets this error. 

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