Responding with the efficiency and calmness one expects of the students it produces, Stan State’s School of Nursing wasted no time in converting its coursework to alternative modalities in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The health crisis might have left students, particularly the 30 scheduled to graduate in May, scrambling to complete their clinical work. The State of California requires nursing students perform 75 percent of that clinical work in person, and with six weeks remaining in the semester, students had 50 to 70 hours of work to complete.
Those hours will be fulfilled, thanks to the department’s quick action and partnerships in the community.
“Lani Dickinson, CEO at Emanuel Hospital in Turlock and a Stan State alumna, said she would take all 30 of our sixth semester students ready to graduate, so they could complete their hours,” Director of Stan State’s School of Nursing Debbie Tavernier said. “Doctors Medical in Modesto said, ‘We will take all your students,’ and St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton has reached out and said, ‘How can we help you?’
“Those partnerships have been amazing. Faculty members are telling me how many hours students need to meet the requirement to graduate, and they gave us names of nurses to pair our students with. They’ve gone above and beyond to make sure students finish. They want to hire them. They need them, and our students will be able to finish.”
Beyond the hands-on clinical work, nursing classes will not miss a beat. The school’s faculty — 19 full-time and 35 part-time instructors — met and agreed to ask for the purchase of an online program called Real Life Virtual Simulations.
“It was something just to get us through the semester,” Tavernier said. “It was an emergency decision. College of Science Dean Dave Evans, Provost Kimberly Greer and President Ellen Junn approved it quickly. They were committed to making sure our students get their clinical training.”
The program is more universal than that, though. All faculty members will be able to use elements of the program in their classes and have been working to incorporate it into their curriculum.
“It was the faculty as a whole who made the decision,” Tavernier said. “We had a massive Zoom meeting with a vendor rep who presented the virtual learning tool to the faculty as a group and demonstrated how it worked. The faculty said, ‘Let’s move; let's get it; let's make it happen.’”
It was a proactive move and quick decision-making that gave the School of Nursing two weeks to prepare their courses for remote/virtual learning, rather than mere days. “I give the dean, the provost and president credit. It could have taken time, but they didn’t hesitate. Everything fell into place.”