Ahead of white coat ceremony, YSU nursing student reflects on education through pandemic


Student Mary Duda was not allowed to care for COVID-19 patients but still saw what was happening

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Monday night, some of Youngstown State University’s nursing students will receive their white coats, which are a symbol of the next phase into nursing. Senior students will go into their final clinical before graduating.

Last spring, the students weren’t able to do clinicals because of the pandemic. Instead, they had to do everything they could virtually.

“For clinicals, that was probably the hardest, when we weren’t able to do them,” said Mary Duda, a YSU senior nursing student.

Back in the fall, clinicals reopened in person.

Duda was not allowed to care for COVID-19 patients but still saw what was happening.

“Being in an ICU and seeing the patients on ventilators and all the complications they were having associated to the COVID was scary at first,” she said.

Duda called it overwhelming and real but she noticed how nurses and doctors we handling it, calling this moment inspiring.

“Showed a lot of determination to their job and how much they care,” she said.

Now, she’s about to head into this semester’s clinicals. Duda will be working through Mercy Health and not long after, she’ll be graduating, which she says she’s prepared for.

“I do think that seeing that and being in that setting did help,” Duda said.

But she also recognizes that there will be times when things become difficult to handle.

“It was hard to see at first and it’s still hard to see, obviously, people sick and dying and struggling,” Duda said.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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