CSON Students Unsure of How Clinical Requirements Will Be Met

Students in the Connell School of Nursing (CSON) were told to attend their mandatory clinical facilities as per usual on Thursday, a day after Boston College moved all classes online for the remainder of the semester and mandated that, with certain exceptions, students move out of the residence halls, according to Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and CSON professor M. Colleen Simonelli. 

“We are diligently working on how you will be able to meet the objectives of the clinical courses regarding attending clinical,” Simonelli said in an email to all nursing students. “Your clinical faculty are expecting you.”

In an email to the student body, Executive Vice President Michael Lochhead said that “accommodations are being made for all students who must complete clinical work.”  

Simonelli emphasized the importance of students attending their clinicals as scheduled on Thursday, as the clinical faculties were still expecting students. She did not respond to emailed questions asking if clinicals will continue through the end of the semester, if it is safe for students to continue at their designated clinical sites, and if these students will be granted exceptions to the mandatory move-out of the residence halls.

Mcphillips Akukwe, CSON ’22, said he was unsure if clinicals would continue now that BC has asked students to vacate their residence halls or how other nursing classes would be affected by BC’s decision to vacate residence halls and move to online classes for the remainder of the semester. Akukwe expressed concern over how nursing students would be able to get to their work sites if clinicals were to continue. 

“A lot of people just aren’t going to be able to get to their work sites,” Akukwe said.

On Monday, nursing students were required to complete a survey about where they traveled over Spring Break. Failure to complete the survey by 10 p.m. that night would be considered an unexcused absence resulting in grade deductions, the email said.  

“The survey was an internal effort required by our clinical partners to ensure that our students currently in clinical were not affected by the COVID-19 pandemic based on where they traveled over spring break,” said Melissa Mecchi, CSON graduate programs assistant, in an email to The Heights.

Students who had not traveled to China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, or Japan; come into contact with someone who traveled to those areas; or shown symptoms were told to continue attending clinicals as of Monday, according to another email sent by Simonelli to nursing students. China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran are classified as “level 3” risk countries by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Japan is classified as a “level 2” country.

A level 3 travel advisory means that the U.S. State Department advises a reconsideration of travel due to “serious risks to safety and security”. In level 2 countries, travelers should increase caution due to “heightened risks to safety and security.”

This survey was required, the email said, in order to ensure the health of patients and students. 

Students who traveled to or came into contact with someone who had recently been in one of the five countries were told in the email to self-quarantine at home for 14 days, as per the recommendation of the CDC.

It was also noted in the email that due to a short supply of masks, all Boston agencies—without providing specifics on which ones—had asked that students not work with patients in areas that would require wearing a mask.

“Know that because of the short supply of masks ALL of the Boston agencies have asked that no students be involved in the care of patients on precautions that require the donning of a mask,” said Simonelli in the email. 

Featured Image by Maggie DiPatri/Heights Editor