The Life of a Student Nurse in 2020


Kaitlyn Greer, Arts and Leisure Editor

Since 2017, Brooke Marvin has been preparing herself for a career as a nurse through the Le Moyne and St. Joseph’s dual degree nursing program. Despite the obstacles of COVID-19 and the many hours of studying, Brooke Marvin and the rest of the 2020 graduating class have finally made it to the finish line.

For the past two years, the St. Joseph’s College of Nursing students have been learning and working at St. Joseph’s Hospital to care for vulnerable and ill patients. For these two years, Marvin and her classmates have been counting down the days until graduation.

This moment was almost here, with only a few weeks left of what were some of the most difficult and pressing times of their college careers.

However, since COVID-19 has made its way to upstate New York, Marvin has said “this time that I have had in the hospital has been the greatest weeks that I have had in the time that I have been a student.”

To explain how influential this experience has been for Marvin, she shared a prediction from the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.

In 1870, Nightingale said “It will take 150 years for the world to see the kind of nursing I envision.”

This prediction essentially proved that “2020 is the year of the nurse,” and as Marvin put it, “in this year, 2020, we are the individuals on the frontlines for COVID-19.”

Originally, Marvin and her classmates thought they would miss out on their final weeks of clinicals and possibly graduation. She said, “I didn’t know what those next weeks would look like.”

 This was until the Vice President and Dean of the nursing school, Marianne Markowitz, said that “students would be able to go into the hospital to get in the hours they needed.”

Marvin was beyond excited and “didn’t have words” when she heard the news.

Traveling hundreds of miles each week to Syracuse from her home in Pennsylvania for clinicals, Marvin had anything but a smooth and easy transition. 

Along with finishing up lectures and clinicals for nursing school, Marvin has been working as a Nurse’s Aide at Barnes Kasson Hospital in Susquehanna, PA.

This has kept Marvin quite busy for the past several weeks. “It has been an adventure to say the least, but a good one,” explains Marvin.

Through the ups and downs of this semester, Marianne Markowitz wanted to remind the students that, “’as you approach the end of your remaining clinical hours…please take an opportunity to remember what makes you St. Joseph’s nurses by reflecting on the impact you all have made in the lives of your patients.”

Emphasizing how truly impactful this has been, Marvin stated, “St. Joseph’s commitment to its students and connection to St. Joseph’s Hospital has given me the time and resources that I have needed and continue to need to be a great nurse.”

To reward the students, the mother of Sage Ballinger, a classmate of Marvin’s, set up a walk-through “graduation” for the students on their last day of clinicals.

As the students walked out of the hospital for the last time; professors, families, friends, and city officials were there to congratulate the graduates.

This was a wonderful surprise for Marvin and her classmates, as they were unable to attend a typical graduation ceremony due to COVID-19.

Now that she has completed nursing school, Marvin is focusing on the next stages of her life.

While prioritizing her role as a Resident Advisor at Le Moyne, she will be looking for a job in Syracuse or Binghamton. This will be to “get a year of experience in Le Moyne’s Graduate FNP (family nurse practitioner) Program.”

With this experience, Marvin has been more than grateful for it all: “it is with a great and glad heart that I am able to say that I became a nurse as the world was fighting a global virus.”