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Mount Royal University students take on front-line roles during the pandemic. Photo supplied.

Karen Rudolph Durrie © Postmedia Network Inc.

When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down post-secondary institutions, resulting in alternative course delivery and cancelled or changed internships, Mount Royal University’s nursing and midwifery students stepped up to the plate to make their alma mater proud.

“Fourth-year students and recent grads were quick to respond, asking how they could help if Alberta got hit and how they could make a difference. They were reaching out to faculty members to see how they could assist,” says Dr. Stephen Price, dean of the Faculty of Health, Community and Education.

As AHS worked out how students could assist on the front lines, Price says many found creative ways to help, such as by making masks to donate or volunteering to babysit children of first responders. Then students and grads took on a variety of front-line roles.

New graduate Andrew Nguyen was hired to work in an intensive care unit and in internal medicine at two separate hospitals, and has signed up along with other new Mount Royal grads to help with public screenings at the COVID-19 swabbing centres.

A graduate of the midwifery program, Jessica Swain focuses on providing care to Indigenous people, in particular women and their families, as well as non-Indigenous clients in Calgary, and acted as a source of information and support for expectant mothers.

“Myself and other midwifery graduates of MRU have been working hard to give our clients choices, confidence and continuity in their birth experiences in a time characterized by lockdowns, anxiety and disconnection,” Swain says.

Nabil Rombough, a Mount Royal nursing graduate and part-time faculty member in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, says students have demonstrated a passion to be on the front lines, and act as ardent patient advocates, even as they grappled with being personally affected by the pandemic.

“Their resiliency and decisions to stay on the front line and serve the public captures the essence of nursing as a profession,” says Rombough.

Price says the ways in which students and graduates have contributed are reflective of the Faculty’s new strategic plan, which has many key goals that dovetail with what has been needed during this challenging time.

The goals include promoting a healthy community that fosters a sense of belonging, resilience and safety, with an emphasis on preventive care for mental and physical health, while staying connected and engaged with the community and also leading change.

“These students in the Faculty of Health, Community and Education want to help others. When the pandemic hit, and people didn’t know all the answers to where the biggest needs were, they still found ways to help.”

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Calgary Economic Development.

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