Interview with Heidi Hansen

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Transcript

´╗┐GL: This is Grace Lim interviewing Heidi Hansen on Tuesday, May 31, 2022. For Campus COVID stories, campus COVID stories is a collection of oral stories from students and staff at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh about their experiences in the time of COVID. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. Before we get started, could you please state your name and spell it for us?

HH: Heidi Hanson H E I D I. H A N S E N.

GL: Now for the purposes of getting a good audio recording. Tell us again who you are and what your title is here at UW Oshkosh.

HH: My name is Heidi Hansen. And I am a lecturer instructional academic staff in the College of Nursing.

GL: And before we dive into your campus COVID story, we'd like to get to know you a little bit better. Tell us about where you grew up.

HH: I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and teenage years moved up to the Green Lake area where my mother was from in Wisconsin, and that I don't know 00:01:00what else you want to know about that. It's

GL: And where did you earn your degrees or degrees?

HH: I got a Bachelor of Science and Anthropology and Biology from UW Oshkosh in 1993, a BSN from UW Oshkosh College of Nursing in 2013, and a Master of Science in Nursing with a focus in Public Health from Grand Canyon University in 2015.

GL: And how did you come to work at UW Oshkosh?

HH: I was moved to share what I had learned about nursing and in my own nursing practice. So I felt that I could I had something to offer to nurses of the future. So that's why I chose to apply and was accepted. And I've been teaching here for almost seven years.

GL: What year was that?

HH: Probably 2016. Six years. I just did the math.


GL: Okay, and then pre COVID. So early March. And what were you doing here about UW Oshkosh.

HH: Going about my regular business of teaching in the College of Nursing. I teach an intro to nursing course I teach health practices with diverse populations, which is a pre nursing course. And I also teach clinicals in the sophomore to level which is the first year that students are in the College of Nursing, and then in the senior one level.

GL: Okay, so let's move to the early days of COVID. Do you remember the first time you heard about this virus?

HH: Yeah, I do. Because I was with senior one nursing students in an international clinical or study abroad program in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I was myself and Professor Maria Groff and we started paying attention to the news, we 00:03:00were hearing about COVID 19, as it was just emerging, so that was January 2020. And, yeah, so I was I was away with students at that time, and kind of starting to wonder how that might impact our travel.


Tell me about tell us the name of the person the other instructor,


Professor Maria Graf,


How do you spell that out g r a f


Okay. And how did you get the news while you were in Argentina?

HH: Well, I guess it would have been on news programs on television. So there were there were televisions in the hostel that we were staying in. So we had access to news when we were having meals and not doing clinical activities. And then you start to pay attention on social media too. What's going on.


GL: And so you were a little worried about the your how it might affect your travel. What were you thinking any other? I mean, what else were you thinking about this, this virus? If anything?

HH: Well, I do have a background in public health so that anything like that piques the attention of someone who has that background and also for people in nursing. Initially, it was, I guess I was thinking, "Okay, how quickly is this spreading? Is this something that's going to spread very fast? Is there going to be some sort of travel ban? If the if COVID-19 is spreading rapidly? Might that affect our ability to get home?" You think about the students that you're with and you're responsible for their safety and so, you know, I was also kind of wondering what was what was the US response to be, what is the human response 00:05:00going to be? And I guess I was also thinking about my family who I wasn't with. And, you know, it was just you didn't know much you don't know what you don't know. Right. So.

GL: And you were able to bring all the students back, correct? Yes. Okay. So let's talk about the one the university actually sent everybody home, while most everybody home, and then this is the middle of March, and what were you thinking then? How did you find out?

HH: Well, I recall, we were as a college, we were being updated. And I do recall, there was likely something from the provost. And we were told that classes were going to be suspended for a week after spring break. And we had two 00:06:00weeks, and we were to be ready to come back for online learning after that. And that was, I was able to think pretty clearly about how I would manage a course that was being delivered face to face. I could, you know, I had, there was a huge learning curve, of course, because I wasn't an online instructor so that I that I knew I had resources, and I could figure that out. But it was, it was a little more challenging for clinical students who were in long term care facilities, and also in public health, because I teach the sophomore in the senior levels. So we're dependent upon the agencies that we work with, in order to place those clinical students and the sophomore two students were not able to return to their clinical site. And so we had to improvise with simulation 00:07:00activities, in order to get them the clinical hours and the experiences that they would need. Their experiences, and their curriculum is monitored by the Wisconsin Board of Nursing. So we have a responsibility to make sure they're getting the content and the experience or senior level, our agencies also decided that they needed to focus on the health of the communities and not hosting students. So we actually were able to supplement some of their clinical time with online learning through the World Health Organization. And it became a really, really high impact learning experience for those students because they were learning about family community public health, during a global pandemic. And we were deferring to the CDC and the World Health Organization for a lot of the information, and they were watching this all unfold. While they were 00:08:00students, I remember telling them, You guys are going to be the experts on global pandemics. When you're in clinical practice, this is really unique. So we took the attitude of how are we going to utilize what is happening in the world and not sacrifice the learning opportunities. And so that particular clinical gave us a nice opportunity to look at public really look at public health on a global scale.

GL: I want to go back a little bit that spring of 2020 you are teaching how many courses? Three? Okay, and they are all in person. Yes. Okay. And then when you we were told to go home, and then that we're flipping the courses to online. Tell me about the courses that you have to do that with.


HH: I had to do that with health practices with diverse populations. And well, I, I knew my content, I had my lectures, I had PowerPoints, but in order to switch to online learning, I needed to record those lectures, I actually had to learn how to do that. And, and so that the campus was providing us with resources. This is how you do it. You know, I actually learned there were resources that had been there that I had never needed. And so I was very grateful for that. And so I figured that out and how to upload them with the programming programs that were available to us. And then post them to the course the chat challenge for me, as on a personal level was that I live in a rural 00:10:00area with internet that literally comes to our home on a wire. So it actually gave me this really great appreciation for students who are taking courses remotely or trying to do their courses who don't have high speed internet. And this was actually pretty new for me, just as a as a human being, because I had recently moved to a rural area, and had no appreciation for the challenges that were associated with a lack of high-speed internet. So I would do things like drive to campus park in the parking lot outside of Clow because word was that if you needed high speed internet, that was a place you could go, the buildings were closed, so I couldn't go in. So I sat in my car, it was like a 25-minute drive to get there. But I needed to post my lectures and you can't get an entire 00:11:00half of a semester ready in two weeks. So I would do it week by week making sure that I had my lectures completed and ready to post. The Internet, I also had access to was at my daughter's boyfriend's home. And because it was early days of the pandemic, and we were all trying to, there wasn't a vaccine, we were all trying to keep each other safe, I would park in his driveway. And he had super-fast gaming internet. So everything was like lightning speed. But there were a couple of times when it was likely related to my own lack of knowledge on how to upload things or where it was supposed to go. I got really great support from our IT person in the College of Nursing at the time. And so I really, really appreciated anybody who was working in it on campus because gosh, I 00:12:00thought what a job they have right now.

GL: Okay, so the courses that you were you were teaching in your lecturing, you were able to do that? Pretty well. Then you talked about the clinical side. So tell me about the clinicals.

HH: My, my sophomore to clinical. They were so the students were so resilient. They were the most resilient students I think I've ever encountered because it's hard enough being a first semester nursing student, it's a rigorous program. And they're acclimating to the College of Nursing, and then halfway through, it's a shutdown, and what's going to happen, I had this just a sense of empathy for their experience. So I brought that to the simulations that we worked through with them, because we couldn't go back to the long-term care facilities for good reason.

GL: For somebody who doesn't understand what clinicals are, what does it


HH: So in, in the College of Nursing, the students have their theory courses, they have lab courses, and then they have clinical courses in which they are actively engaged in face to face interactions with residents in long term care facilities, or patients who are in hospitals, or individuals who are in the community depending on what level they're at. But it's face to face real world guided experience with a clinical instructor to help them build the skills that they're going to need when they enter their nursing practice.

GL: And what do they usually do when they have these face-to-face interactions with these clients.

HH: They'll be doing assessments; they have a number of projects that they have to complete or assignments that they have to complete over the course of a semester. So it could be a physical assessment, it could be a health history, medication passing, those, those sorts of things that kind of are getting 00:14:00started as new nursing students, so they learn the skills in lab, and then they have an opportunity to implement those skills in the clinical setting with residents and patients who are agreeable to allowing them to do that.

GL: And how often pre COVID? Do they go to these facilities?

HH: It was once a week in the sophomore level.

GL: So when you had to flip to online or remote, how did you manage to do that without those actual real people?

HH: So we are allowed to use clinical time in simulation. So we had to finish out the semester exclusively using simulation. And so what that would typically look like would be we would be in a simulation lab that has a really fancy mannequin that can cry and sweat and even change all their vital signs. And then they're breathing and all that sort of stuff, which, which makes that a really 00:15:00impactful learning experience for them. But we couldn't even do that on campus. So we got creative as a clinical group, because it wasn't just myself, it's 96 students and everyone's instructors. So we met remotely as instructors. And we came up with a plan to complete the simulations, virtually with the students, and we provided them with images of what the mannequin would look like. And we provided them with scenarios and reports. And then the students would have to utilize those images and that information and move through a simulation, which would be a scenario where a patient would be exhibiting these symptoms, and they have to think, what should I ask, what should I do. But I found after the first simulation, that it needed to be enhanced. And typically in simulation, at that point, we had someone who would run the simulator, the instructor who would 00:16:00speak as if they were the patient, and the students would be in a room with that simulator, but we didn't have that. So you had to be the patient, you had to be the one kind of managing the simulation, and you had to be the voice of the patient. Or if they needed to call a doctor, then you were the doctor, if they needed to talk to a colleague, then you were that colleague. So since we could see each other, I started doing things like putting oxygen nasal cannula over my shoulder as a visual cue to them if it was supposed to be on and it wasn't, or coming up with little props like that, that I could support them in what we would hope they would recognize as part of that simulation. So it was a it was kind of comical at times. And we kind of laid some ground rules at the beginning of it that we're all learning what to do in this environment, instructors are 00:17:00learning, and students are doing their best to learn in this environment. So that we just needed to be forgiving and gentle with each other. And we would laugh about things and I, you know, I might signal to them, you know, in some way, you know, like, indicate there was something that they needed to pay attention to, or I would hold up things that, you know, I was hoping that, you know, if we had been in a simulation room, they would have seen, so I might hold up a thermometer or you know, a visual cue. So we just got creative and did the best we could in the situation with the tools we had. And we made it through. And then at the end of the semester, I thank them for how resilient they were and their willingness to continue to push through. And when I say I have empathy for the students, it wasn't just as students, many of the students in the College of Nursing work as certified nursing assistants. And so they were 00:18:00literally on the frontlines of a lot of them working in long term care, some of them working in hospitals. And so I appreciated their contribution in that way as well. So we had students who dropped out because they were in the National Guard, and they were called up for COVID response. So it impacted students in a lot of ways outside of learning.

GL: You mentioned that some of your students were essential workers during the early days. I mean, what, during this whole time when we were all sent home, the instructors were all sent home. You were also sent home, correct? Correct. So, but um, were you still were you also working as in some sort of nursing capacity?

HH: I was yes. I had a clinical practice as a hospice nurse.

GL: Okay. And then we went in touch on that later. Okay. Okay. So how different 00:19:00How difficult was it were you between, you know, the, the modalities are different, and in person teaching and having to teach remotely or teach, you know, asynchronously, or whatever. I mean, well, how different was that?

HH: Very different. When I was in simulation with my students or in clinical conference meetings with my senior students, I could at least see them. We were doing things both asynchronously, and face to face using our technology. It was really different from my theory class, not seeing their faces and seeing their reactions. I did my best to record my lectures and in a manner that I hoped 00:20:00would pique their interest. The reality is that while this was happening, I also had a student who was finishing up her last year at UW Oshkosh. And I was watching her and her having her experience at home as well. And I saw her playing lectures and putting them on double speed and just kind of going through them and listening to the lectures and thinking, I would like to sound a little interesting. And, and so I worked really, really hard to make those lectures. Interesting, I included supporting videos, and I would include humor when it was appropriate. So I would try and engage them. And in those ways, because, boy, I mean, sitting in front of your computer all day long as a student with what I 00:21:00learned from watching my daughter's experience, every instructor was kind of doing it their way everyone was doing the best that they could, to the best of their ability with the technology that was available. But I thought, gosh, these students have four instructors doing everything in different ways. I want to make this as easy as possible for them. Every rubric was posted every week there was this is what to expect this is what's going to be do all the things that I used to say I got in the habit of writing down. So they didn't have to worry and wonder what was Professor Hanson expecting this week. And that actually is a practice that I've continued on in all of my classes, I give a what to expect this week announcement every week, because I just think it helps them organize their studies.

GL: How much more work was it to flip your classes online. And teach them that way. Was it more work or less work or about the same?


HH: Initially, it was more work because I had to record lectures. And I had to think about the course differently. All the things that I might have said to them in person, I had to make sure I was keeping track of what I had shared and was I sharing it in a way that they could access easily. It made me evaluate the way my course looked to the students. I wanted to make sure there was no question where they needed to go. So that so there was extra work in that. But I have to say, I never expected to be a person who would say I can do online learning. I didn't mind it once I figured out what I needed to give them. Then Then I then I thought this is this is doable for me. And so it was it was growth. For myself. I didn't expect I never actually intended to grow in that way. As far as I was concerned before COVID, I would have been just happy enough 00:23:00to go in and teach my courses the way I had been teaching them. But I learned new things and embrace new technologies and got innovative with courses particularly in my senior one course we actually developed a global perspective, clinical for students that that started in the fall of 2020. So it allowed innovation in ways that we likely wouldn't have done.

GL: Would you equate the- your in-person instruction? I mean, you know, this is the same, you know, the quality of instruction you're getting, you're giving your students through your online teaching is the same as the in person?

HH: No, because I don't have the opportunity, especially with an asynchronous 00:24:00course. I don't have that face-to-face interaction with spontaneous questions. So sometimes those questions are really helpful. Now I have integrated discussion boards and student lounges and opportunities to ask the instructor what I found was the students weren't really using those when they were using the required discussions, of course, but not the Ask the Instructor so much and maybe that one or two students would do that. I think they listened to the lectures. When I did record the lectures. I have to say they were pretty good. I stayed on message, you know, I wasn't going off on tangents or things like that. So the content that needs to be delivered is absolutely delivered in a very meticulous manner. But you lose sort of that in person, back and forth discussion. That will take you to maybe another topic that's important. So 00:25:00there's a difference.

GL: Would you pick online teaching as a, would you pick that over in person instruction, if you're given the choice.


It's interesting that you say that because I was just given that choice, and I picked online.

GL: And I mean, for what reason,

HH: Mostly because of my teaching load, and my need to be available to my clinical students. And so that makes me more available on those days, I can still manage my online course very well. But I can be physically present, let's say, vaccination clinic comes up for some of my senior students. If it's during a time where I would have an in-person course, then that that becomes a missed opportunity for my students, because I can't be there with them. So this allows me to teach but it also allows me to support the students who are in my other sections.


GL: During the spring of 2020, you know, the last six weeks or so and then the fall of 2020? What kind of feedback were you getting from the students regarding their learning experience?

HH: The students who finished in the spring of 2020, I think we're just relieved that the semester was over. I got good feedback from the students in, in the sense that they were appreciative that we were able to continue that we had solutions, particularly for my clinical students, so they could complete the semester, and nursing students need to have those clinical hours in order to meet the requirements of Wisconsin Board of Nursing and to pass on to the next 00:27:00level in the program. So they get really, really worried if it looks like they're not going to get those clinical hours. So we provided them with a lot of reassurance, and they felt that they had received what they needed to in order to progress to the next level. So I was I was happy that they felt that way. And they were just grateful that their program wasn't stalled. Wasn't stalled.

GL: Okay, so I'm in the fall of 2020, were you teaching remotely or in person,

HH: it was a combination; I was teaching remotely. And my theory course and health practices with diverse populations, I did the whole summer to prepare for that. And so that that was, that's the way that course was delivered. And the and I got really, really good at, there's a lot of great, I don't give exams in 00:28:00that test. And in that in that course. So there's a weekly assignment, and they have to write journals, and to do these, these projects. And so I worked really, really hard to make sure they were getting individualized feedback on all of all of their course work. I feel strongly that they deserve that I read every single word because they wrote every single word. And we cover a lot of sensitive topics, and we're talking about diversity, and social determinants of health. So it's heavy content. They deserve feedback and to know that their work matters to me.

GL: How many courses were you teaching remotely and in person,

HH: And then I was teaching two that were in person. And those were clinical courses. So we were able to have face to face clinicals with one of my clinical 00:29:00groups. Oh, I take that back. I had two clinicals that were in person and one clinical because that was the fall, I teach three clinicals in the fall. So I have one at an equine assisted Services Agency, and my students were able to attend there, as long as they were wearing masks and face shields. That agency decided to continue with experiences for their clients. And so my students were getting some face to face, we did have to supplement that with learning modules through like the World Health Organization. Information on culturally competent care, how to we were sort of prepping them as well, hoping that soon in the future, they would be able to be participating vaccination clinics. So we were kind of utilizing everything that we could find to support them in their future tasks as nurses and understanding what was happening on a public health perspective, but also in hospitals and agencies related to COVID-19. My 00:30:00sophomore students, we were able to come back to simulation in the simulation suite, but we changed the way we did that we used to have all eight clinical students come in at once. But we had to limit the number of students who were in the simulation room to two. So we had two groups of four, during the day, and two would go in at a time, I could run the simulation from a different room. And they could have their experience in there. Of course, everybody was masks, masks and face masks / face shields and all that sort of stuff to keep everybody safe. And then that semester, because the College of Nursing had lost a number of clinical sites. In the senior one level because of the pandemic and the agencies just named meeting to focus on their communities. We developed another clinical 00:31:00over the course of the summer, which was called Global Health Perspectives. And this is the semester where they learned about community health, public health, family, home delivered services, how to be a nurse out in the community, outside of the hospital, and what do these nurses do? So we decided, since we weren't going international, we had to cancel our study abroad clinicals that the students who had an interest in that type of thing might be interested in public health on a global level. So as part of this, we had them complete a nine-credit continuing education course through health and human services on cultural competency. And then my colleague, Professor Maria Graf, and I worked collaboratively with our international partners, Shri Rama Chandra, in Chennai, 00:32:00India, and our colleagues at university Cattolica, Santa Maria in Arequipa, Peru. And we held an international roundtable virtual roundtable for our students. So they could have a an international experience without going abroad, because there are always students who are really interested in doing that. So the topic of the roundtable discussion was nursing students' perspectives on the impact of COVID 19. And it was voices from Chennai or Akiba and Wisconsin. And we had a lot of anxiety coming into that main event for the semester, because we had never done it before. But I think the students you know, ended up having a having a really meaningful experience and learning from each other. Our technology all worked, we were all able to log in, we had to figure out time zones and all that sort of stuff. But the nice thing about nursing is nursing 00:33:00instructors and nurses are very similar. No matter where you go in the world. There's a similar sensibility, and a desire for collegiality. And so it was just a really fun way to innovate and learn from each other. And it helped solidify for the students as well that people in other parts of the world were experiencing many of the same things, whether they were people in the community, or they were students. So it gave them a common understanding.

GL: Was the a lecture series or what was it?

HH: No, it was a roundtable discussion. So we came up with a series of questions in collaboration with our other universities, and then the students all prepared their responses to those questions. And then we met for about a two-hour roundtable discussion where we would go from university to university and a 00:34:00student representative would share their group's perspective on those questions. So it was an interesting exercise in preparing the students to present their responses in a professional manner. So they not only learned from each other and thought critically about their experiences and how COVID was impacting their learning and their communities. But it also gave them an opportunity to do something that they may have to do when they're professionals. So it was great to support them and watch them shine on an international stage.

GL: You mentioned several things already that that sounds like you were you know that one of the questions like What are you most proud of what if you already mentioned a lot of things I mean, did we miss anything else that you're most proud of? Regarding your response to COVID-19, in regards to your work here


HH: I'm proud of the innovation. And when I say proud I sure I'm proud of my own efforts, but I'm proud of how the College of Nursing collaborated and supported each other. And I'm proud of the work that I did with my colleagues to make sure the students are getting the best experience that they could, in light of all of the barriers that were thrown up, which seemed like again, and again and again, and at the beginning of each semester, it was an evaluation of what clinical sites do we have? If we don't have those clinical sites? What are we going to do? How are we going to help the students get the experiences that that they need, and there have been changes. And what we found are, we've kept a lot of 00:36:00the changes even after, we didn't have to anymore, because the students learned more. And the students had more personal attention in the smaller simulation size, for example, or we want to continue to interact with our international partners. Even though we're starting up coming up in the fall of 2022. With another study abroad program, we're still doing an international roundtable. So we've innovated and kept a lot of those innovations, because they're just great learning experiences for the students. So I'm really, really proud of that.

GL: And when I go back, I just want to get this on the record. Before COVID, how many clinical sites did your students have during the run?


HH: My individual students are the College of Nursing.


Well, if you know the College of Nursing, I would like that, but if you know, when we were you, yeah,

HH: we typically have 96 students in a cohort, so sophomores, juniors, one junior to senior one, senior to. And so typically, the size of a clinical group is eight. So that comes to 12 Clinical sections. Now, some of those clinical sections, there might be three clinical sections at a particular hospital, depending on the agency, but there are a lot of clinical sections in the College of Nursing. So we were able to accommodate more students in the global perspective one, but that was helpful because we had lost so many clinical sites.

GL: That's what I was going to count. Yeah. How many did you lose? That that first spring semester?

HH: I can only speak to the sections that are the levels that I taught in 00:38:00sophomore to all of them. Senior one. I think we lost all of them. There might have been a couple that we didn't Okay, most. Okay.


All right. So, in the fall of 2021, let me ask you this. When did you come back in person? Um, you came back in person fall of 2020. Right. Okay. Okay. Done. So in the fall of 2021, the vaccines are readily available, you know, and supported by the, you know, the administration and what were your initial thoughts about the vaccines?

HH: Hit me up.

GL: Okay, and then

HH: yeah, I was absolutely confident, absolutely confident. And, you know, there are there are incredibly smart people in this world working in biomedical 00:39:00technology. Having had a background in public health, of course, I was going a little wonky, you know, down the rabbit hole for all of these, you know, epidemiological sites that were supplying information and the latest research and, and, and so, I was very, very confident to me mRNA vaccines didn't sound like a brand new technology. So I, I was ready, but you have to remember to I was also working the front lines. And there were people in my family who were vulnerable and so I wanted to protect myself as quickly as I possibly could. So I got my vaccine on December 21, 2021, What was it 21 Anyways, it was the winter 00:40:00solstice, which is also my anniversary. And I got it days after it became available to healthcare workers.

GL: We're a little over two and a half years. Pass. Note A little over two years past the time when we went on went home and had to flip our classes. How much do you think-- do you feel things are getting back to normal?

HH: Um, well, I think that there are a lot of people who are fatigued and are behaving as if things are as normal as they can be. I'm not back to normal. I 00:41:00feel that we're still living in a global pandemic, a time of a global pandemic. You know, when you look back, historically, it was like the pandemic of 1918, it was like three years before things got back to normal air quotes. So, in my mind, the world is not normal. I'm wearing my mask when I go into the stores, often I'm the only one. I don't know. For me, that's just my current normal, I guess, you know, but what I do tell my students is that at the end, I have this discussion at the beginning of each semester, and sometimes I have it throughout the semester, depending on behaviors. We're not mask shaming. Either way, if someone's wearing a mask, that's that individual's assessment of their own 00:42:00personal risk, if you're not wearing a mask, that is that individual's assessment of their own personal risk, and we as nurses are not about shaming. We're about meeting people where they're at. So I think that's helpful for students to appreciate and understand that people have different perspectives. And you know, what, when, when I was 20 years old, I probably wouldn't be wearing a mask if you know, I wouldn't do it's that's age, expected behavior you have, you don't have a sense of your own mortality. You don't have, you know, a grandbaby who can't be vaccinated, your parents aren't aging, all those other things aren't things that you're really thinking about. So, so I can see why students are making the choices that they're making. They're young, and they're low risk, and they they're doing their thing.


GL: We also talked about how the pandemic has changed your job in some ways, and that you have continued to adopt some new newer teaching methods that even though you don't have to anymore, that you'll continue to do so. Is there anything else that you think the pandemic has changed or the way you do your work?

HH: It has helped me to recognize that I was failing at boundaries before meaning I let my work come into my family time. And I have made a shift in there are times when I now shut off my phone, think to myself "I don't need to grade 00:44:00this right now". And I focus on the gifts of my family and my friends and those that I'm spending time with. Part of that shift required me leaving one job and taking another not my university job but leaving hospice nursing and taking up another position that provided me with more time because I guess the nature of teaching online too, and the way I sense that students need your support. I had to make a choice, and I chose my students.

GL: And I guess that leads from the next question about what has living in learned working During the time COVID taught you about yourself.


HH: It's taught me to be more gentle with myself. Which seems really strange, because we've been innovating, and we've been doing and we've been creating, and we've, we've been doing all these things and making sure our students get all the support that they need. But there's, there's like an energy behind that, that that I've experienced, that's kind of made it exciting. Not that I think anything about a global pandemic is, you know, brings joy, but innovation brings satisfaction. And, and so, so that's, that's been exciting. And I guess it taught me that I could do more than I thought I could, it pushed me to do more than I might have otherwise. You know, I talked about our international round tables. And we would have never done that. Never, we would have kept going on 00:46:00our study abroad programs, and waving goodbye at the end of our three weeks. And we'll see any year. And this has this has allowed us to build and sustain friendships among colleagues, international colleagues, throughout the entire year. So I think I think that's, I guess that's taught me stuff.

GL: Knowing what you know, now, what was there anything you would have done differently? I think we did talk about that you would have done. I can't remember.

HH: If there's anything I would have done differently, it should have been done before we had a global pandemic. If I'm being honest with myself, I probably would have benefited from understanding more about what options there were with supporting the delivery of my courses in more innovative ways. And I hadn't done 00:47:00that. But I didn't know that I needed to. And now I know how much that helps support the students. So we're back face to face. And I've brought a lot of that new, newly earned knowledge and skill with me, and I'm applying it.

GL: So we're gonna talk a little bit about your life outside of the university, if that's okay. And, you know, when we were sent home, did you think that we're actually going to stay home the whole semester? Or did you think we're gonna come back in a couple of weeks or a month?

HH: Oh, I knew we were staying. There was no question in my mind that those students weren't coming back. And I think that, but I think that might have to do with, you know, I'm, I was watching what was going on with the spread of 00:48:00COVID, how quickly it was spreading how sick people were. I wasn't in denial at all, I was I was in a, we go" mode. And so I had, I had, there was no question in my mind that we were staying home.

GL: So we were sent home in the fact to, to shelter in place, and, you know, isolate from people and try to flatten the curve when we actually could have done that at some point. But you actually were out in the frontlines. Tell us about your work then.

HH: So I was working in hospice, home delivered services, which means that as the nurse, you go where your patients are, so they could be in their own home, they could be in a family's home, they could be in a hospital, they could be in a long-term care facility, assisted living. And so I continued my work in 00:49:00hospice, I was working Wednesdays and Fridays, and weekends, and on call and all those things that go along with the job because even though there's a global pandemic, and people are staying home, there are certain people who don't have that ability because of the nature of their work. So patients still need to be seen. And I shared with my colleagues early on, when, when people in, you know, our local communities were starting to get COVID, we started seeing our numbers grow. I said, "Well, you know, this is going to have an impact on our census, because there are going to be people who will choose not to be treated and they're going to be people who don't do well. And so we're going to be seeing a number of COVID patients in our in our care" and we did and so yeah, I continue to practice that had its own challenges. For sure, because we tried to be as 00:50:00efficient as we could, in our visits, we, you know, we had to do things like Stop hugging families, you know, when you're a hospice nurse and, and you're caring for patients, you're also caring for their loved ones. And those sorts of things that come naturally to you, as a nurse in that discipline. Were just, they felt like they were ripped away, they felt ripped away. And, and so. So that changed the nature of how you interacted with people. You know, there was shortages and personal protective equipment. That was a challenge for all aspects of health care. And, and I recall feeling the most sympathetic toward 00:51:00people who were working in assisted livings and community based residential facilities, because they're not often run by nurses. They're managed by people who may take a management course, they have staff who may not even be CNAs, they may be health assistants. And they were all in over their heads. And it was so hard for public health agencies to support everybody who needed support. hospice nurses, and, and I, I would assume other nurses who weren't in hospice, but were doing home delivered services, were doing their best to support the agencies. But the people working in those facilities saw a lot of people pass away. And that is something that you work with, on a daily basis when you were a hospice 00:52:00nurse, but when you're a caregiver, and one of the small facilities, which are so much like homes, and, and your residents feel like family members, the way that that experience impacted them was huge. It was like a family member died each time somebody died of COVID. And we saw this actually come out in our students' reactions in simulation, because there's a particular similar simulation that we use to run on a patient who passes away, and there's a spouse at the bedside and the patient declines rapidly and the patient passes. And this simulation was being run in, I think it might have been one of the Excel courses 00:53:00and students started having powerful emotional responses, more so than had ever been seen before. And in evaluating that, they were reacting to their experiences that they had had in the workplace. And, you know, we hear from health care professionals all over respiratory therapists, nurses, physicians, who are just so overwhelmed with how many deaths that they encountered in their profession-- in their profession, and these are trained medical professionals who have years of experience. And I'm not bringing them up to say that they were, it's no easier when a patient dies, because it isn't. But these are kids. These are 19--20-year-old kids who are alone in a long-term care facility with 00:54:00multiple COVID patients and people dying more rapidly than they've ever experienced or may ever experience in their life. It just broke my heart for them.

GL: And these are these are your students.

HH: These are my students share these stories with you.

GL: Or their experiences.

HH: Yeah.

GL: When in the early days, you talked about the lack of PPE. I mean, what were you using, you're actually going into the people's home, you're out in the community when you're really, not supposed to be, but you are an essential worker, so I get that. So what our What were you what's going on in your head? And also, you know, did you get any PPE?

HH: We did but it wasn't adequate. And, and nobody was getting what they needed 00:55:00to protect them from an airborne transmitted disease does. I mean, it just nobody was getting what they needed. You know, at the beginning, they, you know, the agencies were trying really hard to make sure that that everybody was getting properly fitted for their n95 respirators. But then there was an n95 respirator shortage, and there was a general PPE shortage. So you know, we got surgical masks, sometimes we got procedure masks, we had gowns, we had gloves, we had goggles, we had one and 95 that we were only supposed to use when someone was tested positive for COVID. And then you had, it literally arrived to us in 00:56:00our office, and what looked like someone's chicken wing box from the grocery store with a hole cut out in the top and one and 95 in it. That didn't fit because they didn't have the ones that we needed. So this is what you get, you know, it's like, the when my kids were in kindergarten and their teacher, Miss Bentall said, "you get what you get, and you don't have a fit". That's, that's what we got, we got what we got. And I had my fits privately. But then I said to myself, I'm not going to put my family at risk, if I can help it. This is the PPE that I've been given I ordered masks. And because I was kind of, you know, with a background in public health and an understanding of epidemiology, I think I was doing this before other people were, I was the naughty one who was buying 00:57:00a whole bunch of my own hand sanitizer, instead of saving for other people, but I was in a "protect this house" mode. And my colleagues are part of my house. So I was sharing what I had with my colleagues. And because I worked in home delivered services, nobody was looking over my shoulder to see if I was wearing a surgical mask that they had given me or if I was wearing my own n95 I in my head, I was like, the equipment is failing the health care system. Nobody's getting what we need. Come and get me. You know, you got a problem with us come and come and find me. And, and that was just a choice that I made. And, but I can say, with my independently purchased n95s with my independently purchased 00:58:00shield that went over my face that I bought myself because the one that I was given, I didn't feel was protective enough. I took care of COVID positive patients. They coughed in my face. And I didn't get COVID. So I have confidence in respirators. But at that point, it was still Oh, it's airborne. And I thought no, no, I'm sorry. I misspoke. Oh, it's droplet, transmitted by droplets. And I thought no, it's airborne. It has to be there's no other way it would spread this way if it wasn't airborne. So I just went full on airborne protection to the best of my ability wherever I could, whoever I saw

GL: At that time, who were you living with?

HH: My husband. And early on in the pandemic, my daughter was still living at home.


GL: And how were you? You were still going out into the community doing your job? How were you protecting your family?

HH: Well, I identified myself as the infection control officer for my family, not just for my immediate family but also for extended family and readily gave advice. I also hand sewn masks and put in filters, and you know, did all that sort of thing. But-- tell me what the question was again, I kind of got off on a tangent.

GL: I don't know how do you how did you protect my family? Yeah.

HH: Well, the first step in protecting my family was protecting myself and more my workplace which I just kind of shared with you what that looked like. And 01:00:00then when I came home, it was further protect my family. So luckily, I live in a rural area, you know, I would take the clothes that I had been wearing off, I would put them in a bag, I would take them right down to the washer, put them in the washer, I had multiple things in my car too. So anytime I had seen a patient, in any sort of setting, I had a ritual that I would come home or, or after I ever saw that patient, I would I had Lysol, I would spray all my equipment off, I would do all of the cleaning sort of things. So I wouldn't carry whatever I had to the next patient. But I would also not carry that home. Early on in the pandemic, if I had been seen patients that were COVID Positive. I would we had a we have a bathroom that's right inside an entryway, so I would take care of my clothes, I would go shower in there. And then I was actually 01:01:00sleeping in camper on our property. Because I just I, we still didn't know enough that I didn't want to take any chances. And, and to me, that was another way I could protect them. And you know, my husband's older than I am my daughter has an autoimmune disease. And both of them are more vulnerable because of that. So I made the choice that if I was taken care of, and we didn't even have COVID tests yet, we couldn't even test ourselves for COVID. At that point, I was sleeping in the camper. If I had been exposed. I wasn't even really exposed in the sense that I had my PPE, but I just wasn't going to let my guard down, I guess.

GL: How are you doing emotionally? I mean, you're you know, you know, I understand what you do as a nurse and but we're in a global pandemic. I mean, 01:02:00were you at all scared? I mean, were you worried? Did you ever think this sucks? I mean, any of that?

HH: Yes. Yeah, everyone who were in health care, or as essential workers, no matter where they worked, were scared to death. Every day that I went to work in my clinical nursing practice, was a day that maybe my PPE failed. And maybe I got COVID. And so everyone who was working with COVID patients, or in any aspect of healthcare, because someone could come in and have COVID, and you don't know it. So yeah, it was it was frightening. But thank goodness that there are people 01:03:00who run toward that, and instead of a way that and I think that's the type of personality that you see in things like, you know, emergency response, when you when you think of health care workers, when you think of law enforcement. When I think of all that, I mean, my heart was like, so there with the kid checking out my groceries? How scared would that person have been? You know, someone threw him a cloth mask and said, go check out your groceries. I think when I think of my emotional state, there was the fear. There was the feeling our sense of security and knowing that I have the autonomy to do everything I can within my 01:04:00power to protect myself and my family and those I care about. But when you don't know what you don't know, and you have no choice, but to go to work and be an essential worker and interact with all sorts of people who have all sorts of different attitudes about how to respond during a global pandemic. You are so vulnerable. And so I guess my sense of sadness for the vulnerable populations who had no choice but to go work in a meatpacking industry who wasn't going to protect them, you know, overrode any fear that I had for my own safety because I'm smart enough. I did it which I shouldn't have said out loud, but I just said 01:05:00it. Right, I didn't get COVID. But I had the luxury of my background, I had the luxury of financial security, I had the luxury of education, I had the luxury of working and knowing smart colleagues. All of those are luxuries. I'm not an individual who is living paycheck to paycheck, who has no choice, and has to go into work, and put myself in a position of vulnerability. I don't have kids in daycare, I don't, you know, my kids are grown up all these sorts of things that people were experiencing. It just made me so sad and frustrated for their experience.

GL: So you mentioned that, I mean, you had the choice. I mean, you could not have gone out into the community where, you know, the vaccines weren't there 01:06:00yet. I mean, you're going to people's homes, you don't know about their, their, their, their COVID protocols, any of that stuff. I mean, what compelled you to say, I'm gonna go into my job.

HH: Because people still needed the services. You can't postpone somebody's death, like you can postpone some diagnostic procedures, maybe some surgeries, non-emergency surgeries. Those things, there's a little bit of a room. You can't say to someone who's loved one is dying, or someone who is who's dying. Maybe you can do that a little later. It's not an option. There's a limited amount of 01:07:00time with those people. And for that reason, I look at them as incredibly vulnerable patients. And if you have the experience and skill to care for those, because it's a unique population, it's a very unique type of nursing. And knowing that there were going to be more to walk away from that wasn't an option. For those of us who, from my professional colleagues and myself, it wasn't an option.

GL: I think you mentioned that, um, well, let's talk about, let's say 20 years from now, 30 years from now, when your, your grandkids, ask about all this time 01:08:00during this global pandemic, what did you do, grandma? How did you feel? What happened? I mean, what did you do during this time? How would you respond?

HH: Oh, gosh, I don't know. I guess I hadn't considered that for a moment. I guess. I'm just the kind of person who says we did. We did what we had to do. We all did what we had to do to the best of our ability. Everybody chose differently. Because I'm sure that'll come up when we look back at this historically, right. So many people had as many different responses to COVID as there are human beings. My grandson was born during the global pandemic. He might ask.

GL: Congratulations. Oh, I forgot to ask you. You say you didn't get COVID. Did 01:09:00anybody in your immediate family get COVID? And did you know anybody close to you who got COVID got really sick?

HH: Not in my immediate family. I'm thinking really hard until recently, actually. We all were vaccinated as soon as anybody could get vaccinated, vaccinated again, boosted all that all that sort of stuff. Of course, being the infection control officer of the family, I made sure everybody had I mean, I was even ordering n95s for my daughters and their boyfriends and that sort of thing. But recently, my daughter and her infant son, my grandson got COVID. And luckily 01:10:00very mild cases so nothing, nothing of concern there. In fact, I found it really interesting that the pediatrician was more worried that he might have RSV or flu, because he said that the kids are doing so well. With COVID. So, so they, they, they got COVID But it was nothing serious. And I have not lost anyone in my family or close to me from COVID.

GL: When was that your daughter and grandson

HH: When they had COVID? A month ago.

GL: So look, April, April 2002.

HH: And it was so she was just, she called me crying and she said, Man, I feel like a failure. And I said, Honey, we all have an appointment with COVID. Every one of us it's impossible to think that you'll never get COVID

GL: we be talked about all things today. Is there anything else you would like 01:11:00to add that we missed? Regarding your work here at UW Oshkosh during this time?

HH: We did talk a lot didn't mean. Boy, I guess I'm just so grateful for my colleagues and the support. And if there was anything that I wanted, would want my colleagues at UW Oshkosh or my colleagues who I worked with, during when I was with hospice, is that we got through together. I mean, we couldn't have done it without each other, and I would want them to know how much I appreciate them.

GL: Thank you for sharing your stories with us. We appreciate your contribution 01:12:00to the campus COVID stories at UW Oshkosh.