Coronavirus Pandemic

Chicago-Area Nursing Students Gain Valuable Experience During Pandemic

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The next generation of nurses in Chicagoland is receiving valuable training at area hospitals as medical professionals continue to tirelessly treat COVID-19 patients.

Cassidy Fedderson, a senior nursing student at Elmhurst University, is doing her clinicals at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

“We are able to help the nurses and doctors by helping other patients that aren’t COVID positive, which allows them to put more of their focus on the COVID patients,” Fedderson said.

Juana Bedolla, also a senior nursing student at Elmhurst University, said the experience helping doctors and nurses at local hospitals has emboldened her as she prepares to graduate next spring.

“This definitely has motivated me that much more to want to continue my education and continue my career in nursing,” Bedolla said.

Area nursing students have also administered COVID tests and are receiving real world experience that can help them in their future careers.

Raquel Real, a senior nursing student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is working with her classmates to test Chicago's vulnerable population for the virus.

“We’ve been going to homeless shelters, long term facilities and now the Cook County Jail,” Real said. 

Real said the work can be physically and emotionally draining at times.  But she calls the experience the "highlight" of her nursing career.

“It’s really meaningful and I do feel like we’re doing a difference in providing this service for perhaps places that might not have been able to get tested,” Real said.

The students are also optimistic about their job prospects upon graduation.

“I know a lot of the people who graduated last year were able to get jobs right away,” Feddersen said.

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