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Practical nursing students complete MCVTS summer clinical program

Practical nursing students complete MCVTS summer clinical program

The practical nursing program of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools was forced to improvise when students were locked out of their hands-on clinical instruction due to COVID-19.

Instead, LPN program director Rosemarie Hoeler and nursing instructor Amy Anderson initiated a two-week summer clinical program that taught more than two dozen students the clinical skills they will need to graduate. All of the program’s full-time teachers and some of the part-time instructors were involved.

When all the clinical sites in long-term-care facilities were closed to students, hands-on classes were conducted on the MCVTS Piscataway Campus using state safety guidelines established for children’s camps, according to Dawn Lystad, director of the MCVTS Adult School.

“The program was very successful,” Lystad said. “It was something that was needed for the students to move forward.”

Two sessions each day offered different skill-set stations that the nursing students would rotate through with an instructor’s supervision. Skills covered included patient transfer, wound care, patient assessment, tracheotomy care and suctioning, urinary catheter insertion and care, and medication administration. 

To ensure the safety of the students and staff, prior to each group entering the school, all instructors and students filled out an online COVID-19 questionnaire at home. Temperatures were taken upon arrival daily, and students and staff maintained social distancing and wore masks. 

After each session, the classrooms were cleansed with an antiviral spray.

“We sanitized anything the students would touch,” Lystad said.

“Students and their nursing instructors were able to reconnect in the classrooms and work on nursing skills to help them graduate to being essential heroes in health care,” Hoeler said.

The students will graduate in 2021. Their services are in demand in nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities.

The MCVTS Adult School offers a daytime program in practical nursing and cosmetology/hairstyling, and evening programs in electrical technology; heating, ventilation and air conditioning technology; plumbing technology, and skin care, as well as apprentice training in business and office occupations, construction trades and manufacturing industries, and customized training that can be developed to meet the needs of employers.