The COVID-19 virus spread rapidly across the globe in 2020, becoming a pandemic before it was designated as such and before hospitals or schools could adequately prepare. Nursing programs were forced to suddenly move to online learning or even close. Nursing students struggled during this chaos, anxious to go to hospitals to help and to continue clinicals, but also sometimes suffering extreme anxiety with the uncertainty of their being able to graduate while dealing with family and other responsibilities. The focus for faculty immediately turned to planning and advocating for the students' continuation of clinicals in this constantly changing environment, which remained uncertain. Even before the current pandemic, anxiety among nursing students has been a concern.
A mixed-method, short survey was administered on-line to learn more about the graduates' emotional reactions, especially their anxiety levels. Twenty-five of 38 students responded to the survey. The aim of this article is to share the responses and lessons learned. As expected, anxiety is high during such crises; providing support, grace and flexibility helps. Transparency, frequent updates, check-ins, and creating a sense of community is essential to help lessen anxiety, as experience and research have shown. Considering student feedback is imperative during this time to help faculty improve our effectiveness and support.