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Viterbo University’s nursing students take on the pandemic

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Viterbo's nursing students have been working extremely hard this year while adjusting to the ever chaining phases of the pandemic.

Owen Hellwig, a Senior II nursing student, which means he is in his final semester at Viterbo's Nursing School, said a lot has changed about school.

Hellwig said that face-to-face meetings are not as common because of the pandemic, as he and other students have been working a lot through Telehealth. It's a virtual link that allows for patient and health professional interaction.

"The pandemic is helping students like me become more adaptive," Hellwig said. "I want to be a nurse because I want to help people. I like knowing that I can be somebody's light during their darkest moments. I like being that person who can have the ability to help people, and it's a blessing."

Megan Smith, a Registered Nurse and Chair of Viterbo's Nursing Undergrad Program, said it's been a challenging year for all. She's proud of the staff and students' resilience.

"Our students were initially very concerned about their clinical placements and to meet their required hours. My staff and I assured them that during these challenging times as future nurses, they're equipped to rise to the challenge," Smith said. "We're very grateful for our healthcare providers that have been very supportive of our students."

Smith said their students are gaining experience at Gundersen Health System and Mayo Clinic Health System. Viterbo University's Nursing School has roughly 500 students enrolled this year.