Mary-Grace Scales, a second-year nursing student at the University of Texas at Austin, isn’t on the front lines of a pandemic just yet, but she’s pretty close.
Scales, of Wichita Falls, was featured on a Texas Tribune podcast last weekend describing what it’s like to study nursing at a time when other college students have virtual options.
This semester, the Texas Tribune reported, Scales is taking her first skills labs – classes offered in person that requires a serious level of protection and protocol.
“In those (skills) classes,” said the graduate of Wichita Falls High School, “we’re not able to be adequately six feet apart. The nursing school has provided us with extra (Personal Protection Equipment) that we have to wear in those classes — masks, gloves, safety glasses and a gown.
“We have a whole procedure walking into class, wipe down anything bringing into class, so whether that’s cell phone, notebook, pencil, and we wipe it all down in front of our professor and put it in a gallon bag.”
While the junior loves her studies, nursing school in a pandemic does come with a certain amount of anxiety, Scales said on The Weekend Brief podcast, hosted by Texas Tribune’s Alana Rocha, Todd Wiseman and Faith Castle.
“Because I worry, am I wearing this correctly, am I protecting myself, my classmates and my professor enough?” she added. “I know my professors are working currently with COVID patients.”
Scales lives with several roommates and worries about taking the precautions necessary to keep them healthy, she said in the podcast.
Her parents aren’t thrilled she’s in nursing school during this unprecedented time, Scales said.
“They don’t like it,” said Scales, the daughter of Keith and Robin Scales, “and they still feel incredibly uncomfortable that I’m in person … They did come before school started to help me decorate my room, even then I felt really nervous about it.”
Scales’ decision to go into nursing school came after she worked as a optometry technician and intern the summer between her freshman and sophomore years. She recognizes that nurses are considered on the front lines of a major global crisis.
“I feel honored that I am among, learning from people who are working on the front lines of the pandemic but it is kind of scary at the same time,” Scales said.
To listen to the entire podcast, The Brief Weekend Edition at www.texastribune.org from Sept. 5, 2020.
This article originally appeared on Wichita Falls Times Record News: Wichitan reflects on nursing school during a pandemic