Dear Alumni and Friends,
Spring has always been an exciting time for the IU School of Nursing on the Bloomington campus, as we prepare to graduate another outstanding class of student nurses.
However, as you are well aware, this spring is very different from the ones that preceded it, as our university and our school face unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19. As we continue to address the impacts of COVID-19, rest assured that protecting the safety and well-being of our students and our community remains our #1 priority. I wanted to give you an update on the steps we have taken to achieve this essential goal:
- First, IU requested that our students return home for the rest of spring semester, as our campus suspended face-to-face teaching and non-essential research operations, and transitioned many campus functions to virtual platforms. This meant that our school had to find new ways to continue our mission of educating our students, while keeping them safe.
- Next, spring break for all IU students was extended by one week. During the extended two-week spring break, faculty did an absolutely incredible job of transitioning our lecture and clinical classes to online learning environments. This transition to online learning – and the long hours it took to design and develop – will keep our students safe and enable our seniors to graduate on time, making it possible for them to enter the workforce where their nursing skills are so desperately needed.
- Last week, we were proud to loan much of the non-disposable medical equipment from our Nursing Learning Resource Center (NLRC) and Inter-Professional Simulation (SIM) Center – such as IV poles & pumps, hospital beds, bedside cabinets, and over-bed tables – to IU Health Bloomington Hospital to help the Bloomington community prepare for the anticipated surge in COVID-19 patients. We also donated a small supply of personal protective equipment (gloves and masks).
- Working with IU’s Center for Rural Engagement, our student nurses are creatively providing information to Greene County families about the resources available to them in combating COVID-19. A Greene County newspaper will publish this information for free, and a student-designed newsletter will post this information online and be sent to Greene County grocery stores, gas stations, and other essential businesses.
- Our students are also creating TikTok videos on such topics as how to put on and remove personal protective equipment, sanitize cell phones, and minimize the spread of germs. Other videos they created suggest exercises that can be easily done while sheltering at home, and suggest helpful recipes and shopping lists for folks unaccustomed to cooking for themselves. Watch for these videos on the Center for Rural Engagement’s and IU School of Nursing’s Facebook pages. Notably, one of our accelerated 2nd degree nursing students is producing videos on how to make your own fabric masks and hand sanitizer. This student is part owner of a 500-employee home health care company, so the videos will be professional and accurate.
During these challenging times, it is the memories of the many acts of kindness, large and small, that have distinguished our school in its response to this crisis.
These acts of kindness – and those that are still to come – would not be possible without your support. You are the foundation upon which our school is built. If we are confident that we will successfully meet the challenges posed by COVID-19, it is because we are supported by outstanding students, faculty, staff, donors, alumni, and friends.
Our future is unfolding. What the rest of the semester and summer will bring is still unknown. We will keep you posted on developments at our school with updates like this one. We are also tentatively planning some alumni events for the fall, where we can express our sincere thanks to you in person.
Until then, stay well, and stay safe. We appreciate your staying home. Thank you for your continuing support and interest during this difficult time. I look forward to the day when we can all be together again.
Mary Lynn Davis-Ajami, PhD, MBA, MS, FNP-C, RN
Associate Dean and Associate Professor
Indiana University School of Nursing Bloomington