Nursing students working on degree, front lines during pandemic

Published: May. 12, 2020 at 3:08 PM CDT
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A generation of nursing students across the Brazos Valley has been working hard to balance homework with healthcare as they work the front lines fighting COVID-19.

Rachel Busse works as a Licensed Vocational Nurse at the CHI St. Joseph Health Respiratory Clinic in College Station. Her job is to help with potential COVID-19 patients.

"Swabbing them, letting them be seen by a provider and then getting them on and getting them the treatment that they need," explained Busse.

Before COVID-19 hit, Busse was working part-time at the clinic, giving her more time to focus on her registered nursing degree.

"Since this started even, though I'm part-time, I'm still working full-time hours. I've been working full time now because they need me here and going to school full time," said Busse.

Busse says her dedication to her job and the need for income made meeting some requirements difficult.

"The college itself required me to do two weeks of quarantine before I could go into preceptorship and I couldn't afford to take two weeks off so I just stayed working here and they allowed me to do a virtual preceptorship which was kind of cool," said Busse.

Busse says had she not been able to finish that requirement online she would have had to postpone graduation. CHI St. Joseph Health Practice Operations Manager, Amanda Landry says COVID-19 has put Busse and five other nurses at the clinic to the test while trying to reach their goals.

"That's going to make them a good nurse. They're already showing that by working, going to school, making that commitment, and being here with a smile and wanting to do everything they can for the patients that walk through our doors," said Landry.

Busse says although the last few months of school haven't been easy, all the stress is worth it.

"That's our job as nurses, is to really help these people that are in desperate need right now but I just wanted to graduate so I could get out there and help them as soon as possible," said Busse.