The Future of Nursing School: What COVID-19 Changed for Nursing Students

Just about every industry has been affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The nursing field is no exception. We hear a lot about how COVID-19 has affected working nurses, hospitals, and healthcare facilities, but something that we don’t talk about as often are nursing students. The fact is, COVID changed things for prospective and current students looking to enter the healthcare field in the future, and it changed dramatically.

The NCLEX examination looks different.

At the start of the pandemic, the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) exam was put on hold. Now, there is a backlog of nursing students who need to take it. And the exam itself looks different than it did pre-COVID: The exam time has been shortened from six to four hours, there are fewer questions and no pre-test questions, and various research sections of the test have been removed. Additionally, you’ll need to wear gloves and a mask while taking the test, at least for now. If you’re a prospective or current nursing student, be aware that the NCLEX exam might look rather different than what you may have expected.

Online and distanced learning is more common.

Along with the rest of the education field, there’s been a widespread movement from in-person learning to online and distanced learning in the nursing world. Almost all colleges and universities and other private nursing education programs or institutions, are offering some kind of online or virtual learning experience. And many clinical rotations have been suspended or canceled altogether.

Nursing programs are even more competitive.

Because of new limits on class sizes and restrictions on clinical placements, many nursing programs are even more competitive now than they were before. Programs are being more selective about the students they pick — it’s probably a good idea to apply to multiple programs to maximize your chances of getting a spot.

Job opportunities are a mixed bag.

It remains to be seen precisely how nursing job opportunities might be affected as COVID-19 continues. And by the time a new nursing student graduates, the entire situation could look much different. As it stands right now, some will say that jobs are scarce because hospitals and healthcare companies froze hiring because of the economic impacts of the pandemic. Others will tell you that more jobs will be created as nurses are in even higher demand, and telehealth jobs will become more popular than ever.


Want Help in Your Career Search?

The good news is that you’re not alone in your search for a career, pandemic, or no pandemic. And whether you’re a recent graduate or a current student, we’ll be there to help. Contact BOS Medical today.

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