SIUE nursing graduates look to make a difference in their field after graduation, and it couldn’t have come at a better time: right in the middle of a pandemic.

Jessie Hammel, from Carlyle, Illinois, is graduating with her bachelor’s in nursing and is one of the many students at SIUE hoping to help end this pandemic. After graduation, Hammel plans to work with Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, in the cardiovascular intensive care unit.

“I’m hoping to work there for about two years and then go back to SIUE to get my Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist degree,” Hammel said.

Hammel said graduation is even more nerve-racking than before due to the

current situation, but believes that with the help of the veteran nurses and doctors, she will be fine.

“I was kinda nervous just to start my job as a nurse with all of this going on,”Hammel said. “But from my experience in my job, the nurse managers are doing the best they can, making sure we are staying safe and that we know the proper procedures. So I’m confident where I’m going to work.”

Another nursing graduate is senior Briana Van Kleef, from Greenville, Illinois, who, after graduation, plans to work with Mercy Hospital as well. But Van Kleef is going to be working in the Transitional Care Unit, instead of the cardiovascular ICU. Van Kleef thinks that going into the nursing field will be a challenge, but it will be a welcome one.

“Entering the workforce is a challenge. You just have to step up to a bigger challenge now,” Van Kleef said. “I just feel grateful that I get to experience this because even the nurses that have been there for 20 years haven’t seen anything like this, so we are kind of on an even playing field.”

Van Kleef said she is ready to go and work with Mercy Hospital. She already

knows Mercy pretty well because she has taken her clinical there and plans to start her career in mid-June.

Senior Molly Rogers, from Moline, Illinois, is also graduating at the end of

the spring semester with a bachelor’s in nursing. She said during her online courses this semester, her professors sent her and her classmates research articles regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We’ve gotten a lot of research articles for us to discuss during our clinical times focusing on how to prepare men-tally and in the nursing aspect on how to handle patients,” Rogers said. “It’s always hard to talk about and discuss things rather than going into the field and actually dealing with it.”

Rogers said the clinicals SIUE have offered to the nursing students has beengreat in helping the students get accommodated to the things they may see on the job.

“We’ve been in clinical for the past two years so the diversity of the patients

we’ve seen through clinical has definitely helped my nerves with entering the workforce,” Rogers said.

Both Hammel and Van Kleef also said how impactful the courses at SIUE

have been.

“I love the SIUE nursing program. I can’t say enough good things about it.

Their curriculum is designed to prepare you for the clinical situations, not just

textbook situations,” Hammel said.

With Rogers, Hammel, Van Kleef and many other SIUE nursing students

ready to take their first official steps into the workforce, the healthcare system is about to receive an influx of essential workers.

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