Caring for the Caretakers: Serving Student Nurses

After the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses are struggling — but a Catholic commitment to personal care and  seeing Jesus Christ in every patient may be what revives them.

That’s what an article by Susan McCabe in The Leaven reports.

“All health care workers need your prayers — we are exhausted,” Jackie Harris told the paper. She is the director of the nursing department at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.  “Parishioners can support health care workers by acknowledging their sacrifices and provide a listening ear.” Harris said.

Research shows that the nursing workforce faces ongoing challenges. College admission departments have seen a decline in interest, and community colleges are considering ways the gap.

Benedictine College’s nursing department has fought hard to help students find their way in the pandemic. Students appreciated and admired the way the college “fought for students to obtain clinical placements” reported The Leaven.

Sarah Daskiewicz (pictured above with Harris), a Benedictine College senior from Omaha, Neb., told the paper, “It’s not uncommon that people will ask me what nursing school is like [amid] the COVID-19 pandemic.”

A number of factors have put a damper on the experience, she said, including “more highly regulated clinical experiences,” the fear of getting sick, and, significantly, “the decreased ability to truly connect with others face-to-face, without masks blocking our smiles.”

But the pandemic also revealed to her the true value of her calling to be a nurse.

“I believe that those of us who graduate from nursing school at this time will be equipped with uniquely shaped skills of perseverance and determination,” she told the paper. “It is my hope that we can take our experiences as students and allow them to form us as nurses who are unafraid to let the craziness of the outside world affect our patient care and help us focus on what is important in our individual interactions with our patients and with our team.”

“We need more nurses. We need nurses educated by Catholic schools,” Harris said. “Ethical issues will get more complicated. We need nurses to support Catholic values and advocate for those patients who are unable to advocate for themselves. It is challenging to be a nurse, but it is rewarding.”

Patty Palmietto at Benedicitne-affiliated Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas, agreed.

“Health care workers are very similar to Catholics in that we rally around each other, we pick each other up, we pray together, we get through it and meet on the other side,” she said.

Editorial Staff

Benedictine College’s mission can Transform Culture in America by modeling community in an age of incivility, spreading faith in an age of hopelessness, and committing to scholarship in a “post-truth” era. We create video and other media content to promote positive messages of faith, hope, and love while Ex Corde Media Fellows program provides students with the tools, experiences, and contacts they need to enter the 21st century media world as effective communicators. Learn about the Ex Corde Media Fellows program.