LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, student have had to adjust including the nursing students at LaGrange College.

Dr. Sarah Jones, the Chair of the Nursing Department and an Assistant Professor at LaGrange College, said since the beginning of the pandemic the department has had to make a number of transitions that they are still actively updating up to now.

“For our students, we were so concerned about making sure they’re getting what they need, especially being fully online, we were concerned. You don’t know, okay if a student doesn’t have great connectivity with the Internet, then they’re at a disadvantage from the other students, so it was just frustrating to see at that time,” said Dr. Jones.

Nursing students were learning completely virtually for a year and transitioned to a hybrid model in the spring 2021 semester. The hybrid model including having one set of students working virtually in one classroom and having another set learning in-person in another classroom.

The students enrolled in the LaGrange College Nursing Department complete their clinicals at Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center that is also in LaGrange. Similar to in-person instruction, the in-person clinicals were stopped for a year and students had to complete their clinicals on virtual patients and participate in virtual labs. Now, they are completing their clinicals at Wellstar full-time with the addition of the virtual clinicals that sometimes presents them with situations they do not see in person.

Robin Jacobs, a senior at LaGrange College, said the virtual instruction was very difficult and having to complete virtual labs for hands-on lessons proved to be very challenging.

“One frustrating part was just dealing with electronics and all the different electronic capabilities and trying to get something to merge with something else. Having to do all these online classes made it very hard to then, when you needed to come in person, kind of merge all of that together and sync it,” said Jacobs.

Students are still required to wear their personal protection equipment in the nursing school which includes wearing a mask at all times.

Dr. Jones also said the department is prepared to return to virtual instruction should they need to but hope to continue with in-person learning.