ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- One can only imagine what it's like to start a health care career in the midst of a pandemic.
Some have said that starting a new job in the middle of a global pandemic is the equivalent of your first swim lesson and being pushed into the deep end.
“Yeah, I would say definitely there is some anxiety, I have had previous experience in the hospital, but not during the pandemic so that will be very new for me.” Emilie Olmstead said.
Olmstead was in Costa Rica in early March on a medical mission trip when she heard she may not be going back to campus because of COVID-19.
She will graduate soon and already has a job lined up in St. Louis.
“I'm really excited to get to be with fellow nurses who are fighting this on the frontlines. I'm more than ever proud to be starting this career I would say,” Olmstead said.
The dangers healthcare providers are facing are being scrutinized more each day. The students have gone through training to protect themselves against airborne pathogens.
“They received that already in their curriculum and already have those skills. When they go into their jobs, in particular the hospitals will continue to add to that knowledge base.” added Laura Bernaix Dean of SIUE School of Nursing.
Olmstead says she’ll be working in the neo-natal intensive care unit. She knows that comes with plenty of emotions. “I think as far as preparing, I have a lot of coping mechanisms that have developed throughout my time in nursing school just dealing with stressors of handling all of that.”
“My message will be that they are prepared to go into the workforce, and to be competent, and that they are able to handle the demands and challenges that they're that are going, they're going to be faced with when they go out there," Bernaix said.
Olmstead said she has plenty of ways she deals with stress, like going on a run outdoors and getting some fresh air, cuddling with her new puppy, facetiming with friends and family and not being scared to talk about the difficult things.
There is also a call for nurses who no longer currently practice to return and help in the fight against COVID-19.
SSM and Saint Louis University are also fast tracking a training program for nurses not currently practicing in a clinical setting. More details on that program cane be found here.