Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) has long held an outstanding reputation for training highly educated and skilled nurses. NACC nursing has also woven itself well into the fabric of the local community through partnerships with local healthcare facilities, which have proven to be invaluable during the current Coronavirus crisis.
NACC’s Nursing curriculum includes population health and emergency management principles that prepare students to calmly function on the front lines of any public health event or crisis. These skills and principles have been put to the test in recent weeks at local facilities.
When one local facility was in need of supplies, Northeast programs delivered. All Health Science programs including Nursing, EMS, and Medical Assisting donated isolation gowns, surgical masks, N-95 masks, and gloves to the EMS department at Highlands Medical Center. NACC has always been dedicated to meeting needs in the community, and this situation is no different.
“Our Nursing staff, led by Dr. Myrna Williamson, is doing an outstanding job responding to students’ educational needs during these very trying times. They (our faculty) are very caring and dedicated to see that their students are taken care of and get the best possible education,” stated Dr. David Campbell. “In addition to that, they are also serving community needs as well, such as donating supplies and equipment to Highland EMS. We are very proud of them and what they are doing.”
NACC has outstanding community partners who are committed to allowing NACC nursing students to participate in clinical experiences in their facilities. These community partners are also committed to hiring Northeast students upon graduation. Although there has been much disruption throughout the nation amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, community partners have allowed many NACC nursing students to aid in the crisis.
NACC Director of Nursing, Dr. Myrna Williamson, spoke to this opportunity. “While many hospital systems were asking students to discontinue clinical experiences in their facilities, DeKalb Regional Medical Center’s CEO and CNO reached out to ask our students to continue in their clinical experiences in their facility. With approval and support from NACC President Dr. David Campbell, and support from ACCS Health Programs Director Kenneth Kirkland and state majority leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, several NACC nursing students were able to continue their clinical experiences and meet their course objectives for the semester,” Dr. Williamson said.
Three students who will be graduating in May needed additional precepting hours and were able to complete those hours at DRMC. Twenty-two second semester students, along with NACC nursing faculty were able to staff visitor and employee screening stations at the entrances of the DRMC facility while earning needed clinical experience and clinical hours. Clinical partners like this are invaluable to the nursing program.
NACC’s Educational Technology Department has allowed nursing curriculum to continue through online delivery. Throughout the remaining weeks in the Spring 2020 semester, all content in Nursing Concepts and Advanced Evidence Based Clinical Reasoning will be offered through an online format. Recorded lectures, web-based assignments, virtual student meetings, consultations, videos, and more are being utilized by the nursing faculty.
“The Nursing Department at NACC has always been very cohesive group. The changes that we have faced as a college have only strengthened this particular group of instructors. They are constantly looking for ways to better serve the students in the program. Their efforts have certainly not gone unnoticed,” said Interim Dean of Instruction Chad Gorham.
Along with virtual lectures, NACC nursing faculty has also adapted clinical hours for students. Clinical hours are being met using virtual simulations with facilitation by the nursing faculty. This will be accomplished over 4-5 days with a variety of virtual, simulated platforms.Dr. Williamson’s passion for Northeast and her students is evident. “NACC has outstanding students who are extremely qualified and committed to accomplishing their goals and dreams of becoming a nurse. NACC also has highly educated and professional nursing and general education faculty who are committed to high standards and student success. Northeast has supportive administration and staff who desire to see the NACC nursing program be the best it can be, and this begins with NACC President Dr. David Campbell,” said Dr. Williamson.