Clinicals are a critical piece of Auburn’s nursing curriculum that all nursing students must complete, usually in person. However, with a pandemic bringing all sorts of restrictions on in-person gatherings, Auburn’s School of Nursing has been forced to adapt to the situation.
Caralise Hunt, associate dean of the School of Nursing, shared how the school’s semester has adjusted to these new guidelines.
“Students are still completing hours in hospital clinical settings,” Hunt said. “Other hours are being completed in lab and simulation settings where we have an excellent team to lead and suppose those experiences.”
The School of Nursing is following guidelines from the the Alabama Board of Nursing and its accreditor, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. It is also following Centers for Disease Control guidelines in order to keep students safe while learning.
“Through the generosity of School of Nursing donors, N95 masks are being provided for all undergraduate and graduate nursing students, faculty and staff,” Hunt said. “The School of Nursing is also providing other PPE including face masks, face shields, gowns and gloves.”
Because of all the personal protective equipment that has been provided by the School of Nursing donors, students are still being allowed to complete their clinical hours this semester in hospital and clinical settings. Hunt said she believes that the current Auburn University nursing students are going to be more prepared than any of the previous classes of nursing students.
“Our students are always taught universal precautions, infection control and use of PPE so they are prepared for this,” Hunt said. “These students are just getting to apply this knowledge and [their] skills in a unique and challenging environment like no Auburn School of Nursing student before them ever did.”
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Despite the current situation, professors at the School of Nursing are still hoping to give students face-to-face instruction. This allows students to be introduced to a more realistic work environment.
For Ashley Vincent, junior in nursing, while the fall has gone smoothly, this past summer semester came with a set of difficulties unique to virtual instruction.
“My summer semester was definitely challenging having to [be a] student and [trying] to start nursing school alone,” Vincent said. “We didn’t get to do clinicals, which was sad and also nerve wracking because we didn’t know if we were going to try to make them up or how it was going to work. It was also challenging to try to learn how to do shots and different hands on activities virtually.”
While her summer semester was difficult, Vincent said she is thankful for the job done by the staff at the School of Nursing in trying to make it as good as possible.
“The Nursing School staff really made an effort for us to have a fun semester and I really believe I learned just as much as I would have in person,” Vincent said. “It’s been so fun to come back to campus and put faces to names.”
Hunt and Vincent both agree that the staff and students at the Nursing School came together to help create a successful transition from summer to fall, allowing students to safely get training in hospitals and clinics.
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