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Pandemic spurs nursing students into in-depth experience at Iowa hospitals

Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames has had 579 nursing students walk through the hospital in 2021 to further their education.

AMES, Iowa — With many Iowa hospitals at capacity, nursing students are receiving first-hand experience for their future careers.

Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames has had 579 nursing students walk through the hospital in 2021 to further their education.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with nurses on two floors. I would say due to Covid it has changed the specialty of field that I’ve been interested in," said Anna Ahlrich, who is in her final semester as a nursing student at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC).

For Erica Tinius, the nursing instructor teaches eight students a day.

“The other day I had a student tell me if they can get through a pandemic during nursing school they can really get through anything and I really believe that," she Tinius.

Tom Lunaburg is a registered nurse at Mary Greeley. He started as a student at the hospital during the beginning of the pandemic. Now, he's helped students from all across the state thrive in a hospital that has been forced to primarily treat COVID-19 patients.

“A lot of them are having to hit the ground running," Lunaburg explained. "I know a lot of my nursing graduate students started out on a medical-surgical floor here and had to transition from medical-surgical to doing COVID.”

He said the students are getting the hard work in and coping with this hectic lifestyle.

"I feel like we have been very well prepared while having clinical here at Mary Greeley," Ahlrich added.

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