'It shows the need:' Nursing students begin clinical simulations, prepare to join COVID-19 fight

BROOKFIELD -- During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Tony Evers issued an order to increase the number of nurses available to support the public health emergency.

"I think it shows the need for more nurses," said Jarvis Racine with Herzing University.

The order suspends certain rules pertaining to nursing education and allows nursing students to complete their clinical education virtually through a simulation.

The order also allows for a graduate nurse to hold a temporary license until the end of the emergency.

"It allows that we can expand our virtual simulation," Deborah Ziebarth, chair of the nursing program at Herzing, said.

Thanks to the governor's order, they will graduate on time. Moving virtual, though, was a challenge at first as students were unable to work with patients hands-on.

Megan Tinsley

"Moving virtual is shifting that mindset a little bit but the critical thinking skills and the assessment pieces to be a safe practitioner are there," said Herzing Professor Megan Tinsley.

The move to online still offers scenarios that students will see with real patients -- a moment many of the students have waited a lifetime for.

Shawna Mehar

"It's truly our time to show that nurses really are super people, and we're trying to take care the best we possibly can of our patients," said student Shawna Mehar.

Herzing University has roughly 100 nursing students set to graduate this spring.