As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect lives on a world-wide basis, clearly, a new model of nursing education delivery was required that adhered to safety measures for students, faculty, and staff. These safety measures include social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, disinfection, testing, and contact tracing.
After a move to total remote teaching in spring 2020, the College created a hybrid approach in which all BSN didactic classes are taught remotely and synchronously while nursing skills, health assessment, and simulation are taught on ground.
“In March, we had to move totally online. We had a week to change how to deliver education. We just made it work and made through the end of the spring semester. What we learned help us plan for the fall as we figured out what worked, what did not work. Faculty members took the summer to rework their courses for the fall” said Dr. Joy Hoffman, director of the BSN program.
To accommodate the move to online, faculty and staff had to work with students to make sure they had access to computers and the internet in order to participate. Fortunately, students without laptops have access to borrow them through the University of Memphis.
“There are a lot of moving parts to making sure each student gets what they need,” Dr. Hoffman said. “We are trying to get students into the hospital as much as we can.”
Nathan Knappier, director of Simulation for LCON, worked with faculty to help them provide clinical education through virtual simulation. “With vSim® for Nursing, students were able to gain clinical knowledge virtually,” he said.
In addition, peer tutoring and Teach-Learn-Coach, a program to provide faculty tutoring to students, moved online to be delivered via Zoom.
This new normal is still a work in progress. Faculty are still tweaking things, learning as they go. They are discussing ways to improve the online experience and planning to create specific guidelines for online class participation to help ensure that it is the best possible experience for everyone.
“Our faculty are commendable. Their ability to transition new education delivery methods is evident! The COVID pandemic not only brings challenges but it also brings out the best in our faculty: adaptable, flexible, and caring,” Dean Zhan noted.