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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Lily Gouin
Lily Gouin
Assistant Sports Editor

Hi! My name is Lily Gouin I am in my third year here at NMU. I am from Appleton, WI majoring in communications and double minoring in multimedia journalism and public relations. In my free time, I like...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Women’s spring soccer comes to an end this weekend
Lily GouinApril 19, 2024

Nursing students adjust to alternative learning

Photo+courtesy+of+Rachel+Wylie%0AASK+THE+DOCTORS%E2%80%94Nursing+majors+%28left%29+Allie+Nagy%2C+Rachel+Wylie%2C+Machaela+Hinkson%2C+Abigail+Peterson%2C+Lizzi+Pellizzer+and+Rachel+Malmquist+participate+in+clinical+opportunity%2C+%E2%80%9CAsk+the+Doctors.%E2%80%9D+
Photo courtesy of Rachel Wylie ASK THE DOCTORS—Nursing majors (left) Allie Nagy, Rachel Wylie, Machaela Hinkson, Abigail Peterson, Lizzi Pellizzer and Rachel Malmquist participate in clinical opportunity, “Ask the Doctors.”

NMU Nursing student, Rachel Wylie, is in the process of completing her clinical rotations in cooperation with the local senior center and Lake Superior Adult Day Services. Despite the new guidelines put in place banning Wylie from going to the clinics in person, she still checks in on her senior clients by phone, ensuring they have groceries and do not feel isolated. Wylie said her professors adjusted their clinical and theory schedules to fit the new circumstances, as the NMU nursing program has established virtual clinics that the students participate in.

 “Although we are learning the material through a different format, we are still learning the same material,” Wylie said. “My professors understand that online classes are difficult for a lot of people, so they are trying to make this process as painless as possible.”

As with all of the programs at NMU, the nursing program has switched to an online format. Graduating seniors are required to complete a 90-hour transition clinic in a hospital, but due to the current coronavirus pandemic, they are in virtual clinics.

 Despite this, they are expected to graduate on time. This decision was made with considerations of the various financial situations students may be challenged with, the shortage of personal protective equipment hospitals and clinics may be facing, and the safety and education of the students said Associate Dean and Director of the School of Nursing Kristi Robinia in an email. The nursing program must follow the Board of Nursing Rules and accrediting body requirements for what can be defined and counted as clinical hours, Robinia said.

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The Deans of Nursing throughout Michigan successfully petitioned the Governor’s office for permission to offer virtual clinics. The School of Nursing was then able to purchase software for online simulations where students care for online patients and meet with instructors in Zoom Video Communications for clinical conferences.

“I am tremendously proud of our nursing faculty. They immediately rose to the challenge and worked towards ensuring that materials were quickly available and that we also considered how to implement an individualized approach,” Robinia said. “I also want to recognize their commitment to keeping students on track. Some nursing schools did not make this choice.”

The nursing faculty are meeting once a week online to share best practice ideas. They acknowledge that some students struggle learning online, said Robinia. This transition to an online format is an educational experiment, she said.

“Frequently, new nurses report wishing they could have had more clinic time in nursing school,” Robinia said. “It remains to be seen if our current graduates will feel this more keenly due to this unprecedented situation.”

Robinia said the recent and abrupt switch to online clinics was weighed carefully as it is the responsibility of the nursing department to make decisions that will not negatively impact the future careers of their students.

Nicci Hofer, a current nursing student in the virtual clinics said the professors are doing the best they can in this situation.

“We do all our clinical rotations online right now. I think the online classes that we have now are more difficult, but it is the best we have available right now,” Hofer said. “I’m bummed because I really liked going to the hospital and the rotations are extremely helpful in learning the different aspects of nursing.” 

Typically, the nursing students are required to first learn theory and in subsequent semesters learn the clinical techniques and application of nursing. Throughout their education, nursing students spend time learning in a simulation center where they can safely practice critical thinking skills and the use of equipment with mannequins.

 Depending on the semester, students are able to gain experiences in different health settings with varying specialties at U.P. Health Systems Marquette and Bell. According to Robinia, discussions about strategies to assess learning and ensure students are on track for their next clinics in Fall 2020 are taking place. 

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