SARS-CoV-2 pandemic forced final-year nurse students to start working to reinforce the healthcare system in caring of COVID-19 patients.
This study aimed to assess the self-perception of third-year nurse students about the knowledge and skills acquired during their study course that were most useful for them when working with COVID-19 patients and which were the topics that they would improve, before and after they started to work. An online questionnaire was administered to third-year nurse students of nursing degree course, Polytechnic University of Marche, in March 2020. The questionnaire was sent again after they started to work, in May 2020. Pareto charts were used to prioritize the main useful knowledge and skills acquired and needed topics that they would improve when they were students and workers.
Response rate was 100% in March and 70.8% in May. Nurses showed more interest in improving their basic knowledge on personal protective equipment management and disposal when they were students, whereas they were more interested in COVID-19 patient's management, in particular, in respiratory care (ventilation techniques, emergencies management, rhinopharyngeal swab execution, and pneumology) after they started to work.
The self-perception of the most useful knowledge and skills and the educational needs changed significantly after starting to work for nurse students. The nurse curriculum should take in account the weaknesses in education as perceived from students and workers.