HAMLET— At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the early part of 2020, Richmond Community College’s nursing students were being pulled from the hospitals where they normally get valuable clinical hours. However, as the pandemic spread and the number of patients grew, the hospitals realized they needed help and allowed them back in.
Nursing students worked side by side with seasoned nurses during a highly stressful time for healthcare workers.
Charge nurse at Scotland Memorial Hospital, Loretta Patrick, described a situation where the nursing students got to experience first-hand a very stressful day in the emergency room but also be of great assistance to the hospital staff.
“When I came into the emergency room to meet my students, they were holding 16 clients and had clients in the lobby with nearing seven hour waits,” Patrick said. “Bridgette Bowen, the ER director, and I worked together to open extra rooms to aid all parties involved. It allowed my students a great learning opportunity and allowed us to help the ER provide care to the clients.”
Nursing students getting the clinical learning component is very important, and it is also required. Called a preceptorship, the N.C. State Board of Nursing requires that Associate Degree Nursing students complete 120 hours with a nursing preceptor. That means the student gets assigned to an experienced nurse and works side by side with the nurse on a 12-hour shift.
“This is the only way to prepare a nurse to be high functioning when they graduate and enter the workforce and be able to provide safe client care,” said Janet Sims, Dean of Allied Health & Human Services at RichmondCC.
RichmondCC partners with FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital-Rockingham and Scotland Healthcare System to place students with a nursing preceptor.
“Being a nurse is stressful enough as it is, so we worried that having a student assigned to them and making sure the student is getting a well-rounded learning experience would be even more stress on the nursing staff,” Sims said. “However, we have found that they want our students and they value being preceptors to our students.”
Patrick is well acquainted with the challenges caused by the nursing shortage, so she is thankful for the partnership with the College.
“I am so thankful for the partnership between Richmond Community College and Scotland Healthcare System,” she said. “The students learn a lot and are grateful for the experience.”
Now is the time to complete the nursing application for admission in the 2022 Fall Semester. Deadline to apply is Jan. 31. For more information, email email@example.com or call (910) 410-1700.