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CCAC Nursing classes connect, de-stress with “take your child/pet/loved one to Zoom day”

Nursing Zoom MeetingPITTSBURGH—Community College of Allegheny County Nursing Professor Brenda Schneider was conducting a roundtable meeting via Zoom with her senior Nursing students when a cat jumped up
in front of a computer screen, causing smiles and laughter all around. The interruption was a welcome stress reliever, so she told her students to take a break, get their child or pet, and return to “show them off.” Her students enjoyed this so much that she decided to hold a “take your child/pet/loved one to Zoom day” for her other classes as a way to stay connected during the isolating environment created by the COVID–19 pandemic.
Following an online quiz, Schneider’s Nursing pharmacology students were invited to return after a break with their family members, human and otherwise. More than 25 students participated, bringing kids, roommates, dogs—from a Pekinese to a St. Bernard—several cats and two lizards. One little girl was eager to meet her mother’s teacher and got up close to the screen so she could see everyone. Schneider repeated the session for her evening class, comprised of second-degree/second-career students, who brought their spouses, young children, furry pets including two bunnies, and a snake to the session. One student, who is from Jamaica, showed a picture of her young son. Another student, who is pregnant, stood up so everyone could see how much her baby had grown.   
It was just 15 minutes for them to laugh and connect with each other and talk about their children or pets,” said Schneider. “Nursing is very high stress, so I thought this would be one small way to help—and it did!"
Schneider has shared her experience with peers at CCAC and suggested they give it a try to help students stay connected and lower their stress levels, and several faculty members plan to do so. She also hopes to hold similar sessions in the future, as time allows, to help students through this challenging time when all classes, clinical trainings and tests have been moved to an online environment and finals are fast approaching.
“It’s been overwhelming, but the students have adapted very well,” said Schneider, who teaches at CCAC North Campus. The fact that CCAC Nursing professors at all four campuses, along with those at the CCAC at California University of Pennsylvania Nursing Program, are sharing ideas and tips with each other has been a great resource.
Even though we’re so big, we’re sharing what we’re learning and it’s helping all of us.