Nursing, Medical Schools Offering Dual Enrollment Nursing Courses – The GW Hatchet

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Jennifer Walsh, clinical assistant professor of nursing and director of the academy’s nurse aide program, said officials developed the dual-enrollment classes to help high school students practice clinical skills such as checking vital signs.

The School of Nursing and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences are offering dual-enrollment courses this fall for Alexandria high school students who want to enter the nursing field.

The Governor’s Academy of Health Sciences, now in its second year, allows high school students from Alexandria Public Schools to take dual-enrollment nursing courses with GW and earn Nursing certification. clinical practical nurse in Virginia after completing 18 hours of college credit through the program. The coordinators of the two GW schools said they developed the nursing aide program to increase diversity in Virginia’s nursing field and encourage students to become nurses to meet nationwide staffing. shortage in hospitals due to the increase in the national population.

Jennifer Walsh, assistant clinical professor of nursing and director of the academy’s nurse aide program, said officials developed the dual-enrollment courses to help high school students practice clinical nursing skills. , such as checking vital signs. She said that after students graduate from the program and pass the Certified Practical Nurse Licensure Examination, they are qualified to work as practical nurses after high school and can earn around $20 an hour.

She said the program is open to high school juniors and seniors from Minnie Howard High School and Alexandria City High School who will attend Nurse Aide I and Nurse Aide II at Alexandria City High School. She said CAHS students could take nursing aide courses at CAHS before the partnership with GW, but struggled with the clinical and practical components of the courses, such as putting on nursing equipment. Individual protection.

Walsh said university officials have merged the Medical School Governor’s Academy of Health Sciences — a program that allows high school students to earn college credit in “vocational and technical education” — with CASP Nursing Courses to provide college credit for coursework.

“We identify some of the challenges students may have,” Walsh said. “We really want the course to be developmentally appropriate.”

Walsh said about 80 to 90 percent of students graduating from the program indicated in an exit survey that they wanted to continue in the health sciences field after completing the program.

“We basically have a great partnership in identifying the needs of these high school students and doing the best courses that they can add to a good basic nursing course,” Walsh said.

Karen Dawn, an assistant professor of nursing and one of the program coordinators, said she and Walsh designed the dual-enrollment courses to meet national nursing needs. shortagesall the more so as their demand increases with a aging American population. Dawn said a growing workload, stagnant income and long working hours have led to nursing shortages across the country.

In 2021, about 1% of Virginians are registered nurses, but 1.2 million new registered nurses by 2030 could solve the national shortage, according to a study by the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences.

“We need to recruit more nurses,” Dawn said. “How do you do that? One way is to develop that kind of partnership with young people who are thinking about what career they might want to go into.

Dawn said students in the program toured the Virginia Science and Technology Campus and spent a day at the School of Nursing Simulation Center, an area of ​​the nursing school where students can simulate interactions with patients using real equipment, like ECG monitors in an operating room. Dawn said she wants students to be able to visit the GW campus again, but due to a shortage of bus drivers and a lack of University funding for transportation, they are not able to. able to bring students back to campus and maintain classes at CSPA.

Dawn said students who take dual-enrollment courses in the nurse aide program will be able to graduate from college with less post-high school education and get first-hand nursing experience before entering the market. work.

“It’s an opportunity for them to see what nursing looks like at a young age, which is really fundamental for these teenagers,” Dawn said.

Eduardo Salazar, a second-year nursing student and program aide, said he helps teach in the Virginia nurse aide program as part of his one-on-one clinical mentorship requirements at the School of Nursing. Salazar said he would appreciate more funding from GW for resources such as stethoscopes, as some students struggled to fund the equipment and had to pay for it themselves.

“Some of the students were talking about buying scrubs, but some of them were having financial issues and it was just really sad to see that,” Salazar said.

He said he divides each class into a lecture with his instructor and a professional training session, which includes observing students checking vital signs and quizzing them on health-related topics like normal heart rate range. . He said he worked with another nursing student to create lesson plans, covering nursing topics like helping with pressure ulcers and taking blood pressure.

“It was just this good kind of relationship between me as a nursing student and them as nursing students that I really enjoyed,” Salazar said.