Graduating in the context of a pandemic

Submitted by McGill University
October 26, 2020

In the month of march, as the Covid-19 cases in Montreal slowly started to rise, I was doing my final internship in the Emergency department. I remember, when the ambulance brought suspected cases, the ambulance staff were wearing goggles, masks and hazmat suits. We, nurses just were wearing surgical masks at that time. The N95 masks were only for those needing to enter a negative pressure room. The triage nurses often felt frustrated because the protocols continuously changed. I remember my last evening shift on Friday March 13th, Justin Trudeau’s wife was found to be Covid-19 +, the ER was totally empty. I believe nobody wanted to go to the hospital risking getting the virus. That was my last day because afterwards the school took the decision to stop all internships and start online classes. My CEGEP was one of the first ones taking the decision to graduate third year nursing students without having to finish the semester. It was at first scary to think that we were ready to go into the real world and work on our own, but most of us did it! Started my first job in Geriatrics on June 01 and met several Covid-19 survivors including a 101-year-old one. The challenging part for me was to communicate with patients under a mask and goggles/face shield, I believe it can be hard for hearing impaired patients to understand without seeing our facial expressions and lip movements, it takes some extra communication skills!