Outbreak changes health care learning



Staff Reporter

COVID-19 has forced all Amarillo College students to adjust to a new learning style, but the differences are even more pronounced for those who are majoring in health care related fields. 

Nursing students have had to take extra precautions as they return to the hospitals for clinicals. 

Clinicals are the hands-on, hospital-site, “in-the-field” portion of health care education. This is where students gain direct practical experience and skills.

During the second half of spring semester, the pandemic led all clincal experiences to be taught online or through video conferences rather than giving students hands-on training in a health care setting. Starting in the fall, however, clinicals returned.

Kimberly Crowley, the dean of health sciences, said that everyone is relieved to be back at school doing labs and clinicals.

“The difficult part is we all have set numbers of hours that must be completed in patient care and we have specific tasks that must be practiced and learned and we cannot do most of that from a socially distanced vantage point,” Crowley said. 

Although students are allowed back in and are eager to learn, they have to keep their distance and learn from afar, said Crowley, but she noted that they are adjusting well.

“Many also felt that they were trained and prepared to deal with this effectively already,” she said. 

Jayden Snider, a respiratory care student, said the virus has created some new learning techniques and has prompted some changes. 

“Having to take your temperature every morning and filling out a health screening before even walking into the hospitals was hard for everyone to get used to,” Snider said. 

Students are learning and practicing what important precautions to take while dealing with COVID patients, she said. 

“We have had to learn how to dress up to go into the room and dress down before coming out,” Snider said. “There’s so many precautions to take so that you don’t get the disease anywhere on you or track it outside of the room.”

Although students are back in hospitals, they are still not allowed to go in and help assist nurses with COVID-19 patients. 

“It’s very unfortunate that we are not allowed to go into these rooms as students to physically assess these patients, but I do believe it makes most students feel safer,” Snider said. 

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