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Holy Rosary Nursing Students Impacted by COVID-19

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Miles City, MT - From local businesses, organizations and schools implementing new safety measures and protocols to limiting the size of social gatherings and wearing masks in public, COVID-19 has impacted all of us in various ways. At Holy Rosary Healthcare, our caregivers are also adjusting to a “new normal.” Among our team of caregivers are students, which were uniquely impacted by COVID-19.

Daniel Nelson is pursuing a career in nursing and came from a family of nurses who finds deep value working in the medical field. He started his medical journey in the Navy where he assisted in casualty recovery simulations and the basics of first aid. After six years of service, he decided to continue his healthcare career in Miles City as a nursing student. He participated in his clinical skills, like placing IVs, about once a week at Holy Rosary.

Ciara Duncan is also pursuing a career in nursing. Duncan has always enjoyed caring for people. Growing up, she was the oldest of six kids and would often take care of her younger siblings. Now a mother to three little boys, Duncan thrives in her maternal role. In addition to being a caretaker, understanding the science and knowledge behind any process, drives her to continuously learn new things.

Combining her two passions, she found that working in the medical field was a perfect fit for her. Attending nursing school in Havre, she would often do clinical rotations through OB, residential care and public health clinics.

When the pandemic hit, the decision was made to prioritize the safety of nursing students and not to continue clinical work in-person for the remainder of the academic year.

“There was talk for a little while to continue in-class functions right when pandemic hit, but ultimately it went online. I was at home performing practical skills on camera for evaluation. They provided me with kits to be able to do at home practices,” explains Nelson.

Duncan did her best to maintain a positive outlook. “Rotations were removed, and we had a lot more virtual simulations. All of the classes were online. This made the clinicals not ideal, but still a good learning experience,” said Duncan.

Students bring a fresh perspective to healthcare and the Holy Rosary team of providers, nurses and staff enjoy teaching and guiding them as they become valuable assets to the healthcare community. In June, Holy Rosary was able to welcome the students back on-site. Experiencing a pandemic while still in training gave Nelson and Duncan a unique perspective as they enter the field of medicine.

Nelson explains, “The pandemic has shown me how important it is to handle these types of situations, a good base of knowledge, and a strong work ethic. I need to be prepared to know how to handle any challenge. This time has solidified my choice of going into healthcare and assisting people with their health-related needs.”

Duncan continues, “There was no surprise that people are going to be sick. So, like anything else, you have to take precautions and give the best support you can. This is my job and this is what I want to do. I am more determined to be a Nurse. I want to be there for patients and provide safe and quality care for them.”

Nelson plans to graduate next summer, with goals to continue with higher education in the healthcare field. Duncan is also planning on graduating next summer with hopes of assisting and supporting as many patients as she can.

About SCL Health

SCL Health is a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to improving the health of the people and communities we serve. Founded by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in 1864, our health network provides comprehensive, coordinated care through eight hospitals, more than 180 physician clinics, home health, hospice, mental health, and safety-net services in Colorado and the Montana Wyoming region.