Updates: Nursing's COVID19 Response
12 May 2020
British Columbians have made great progress in flattening the epidemic curve. That is good news, and it means that universities are making plans for a careful, well-thought-out return to campus. Because the School of Nursing is mostly located in a hospital, we are aware that we will not be among the first to fully return. Some of us, however, will be back to teach our skills labs course this summer, which we’ve adapted for small groups with physical distancing and careful infection control; the plans have been approved by UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health, so we can prepare nursing students for their clinical practice placements starting in June.
For the rest of us in the School, we continue to work from our homes, teach online, supervise our students in clinical settings, and conduct research from home or online where we can. We are working with communities and governments to help guide responses to the health and social challenges we face in the pandemic. We are also considering different scenarios for a phased return to campus, so that we can be ready when the Provincial Health Officer allows.
I am in regular contact with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and the Ministry of Health. Both ministries remain committed to helping ensure that our nursing students continue their education during the pandemic, including labs and practice placements, so our students will not be delayed in graduating. Indeed, plans are underway to celebrate a virtual graduation for nursing students shortly after June 17, 2020, when UBC will formally recognize all graduating students.
Schools of Nursing across the province are communicating regularly through our Nursing Education Council, to share solutions and ideas, and to communicate with government about the work we do and the situations we face in our local contexts.
May 11-17 is National Nursing Week in Canada. In BC, the Lieutenant Governor has issued a proclamation declaring it Nurses Week during the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. Although we have cancelled our plans for celebrating our Gala and Nursing Week in person, we encourage our friends and colleagues to take time during the week to share the importance of nursing in their lives and in our communities, and to help celebrate our students, our alumni, our faculty, and our School.
Elizabeth M. Saewyc, PhD, RN, FSAHM, FCAHS, FAAN
Professor and Director, School of Nursing
For updated information about UBC’s response to the COVID19 pandemic, see this link covid19.ubc.ca/
For the latest guidance from the BC Centres of Disease Control on COVID19, check this link covid-19.bccdc.ca/
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