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June 3
1855 - Ship leaves New York harbor bound for Tunis to acquire animals for the United States Camel Corps [story]
Camel Corps


Each day, our world continues to change as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Challenging times like these require individuals, organizations and institutions to rally together, address key issues, solve problems with new and innovative solutions, and quickly forge a new path forward.

That is particularly true for an area of instruction that is critical to College of the Canyons and California – nursing education. We need immediate action to waive existing regulations that limit instructional flexibility and ensure we are poised to meet the demand for trained healthcare personnel in the months ahead.

Student nurses are required by the state Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) to complete a minimum number of instructional hours in clincal settings in order to graduate. Normally, that instruction takes place in area hospitals. However, many hospitals have necessarily limited access to nursing students as they focus on responding to the coronavirus pandemic. This decision reflects a concern for the safety of the students and their families due the risk of coroniavirus exposure, as well as the shortage of medical supplies, especially personal protective equipment like N95 masks.

Unless colleges are given flexibility in meeting the clinical training requirement, students will not be able to complete their programs, earn their degrees, and ultimately work as nurses in service to the people of California. Technologically advanced patient simulators offer a potential solution. Substituting some of the clinical hours for time spent with simulators would enable students to complete their programs with no drop in the effectiveness of their nursing skills.

College of the Canyons led the way in advocating for this common-sense alternative in the days immediately following Governor Newsom’s emergency declaration. Mary Corbett, who chairs the Nursing Department at College of the Canyons, helped me gather signatures from more than 60 community college presidents and chancellors from across the state, including California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley, on a letter to the BRN making an urgent, but reasonable, request to allowed simulation to comprise 50 percent of clinical nurse training. This past weekend, NBC4 News in Los Angeles ran a story on their newscasts that featured COC nursing student Laura Pearson, and her daughter, who attends Pierce College. Both are set to graduate at the end of this semester, and they are anxious to put their training to use.

Despite the increasing attention being called to this issue, the BRN chose not to implement any emergency regulation changes at its most recent meeting. This lack of flexibility comes despite the presidents of the California Association of Colleges of Nursing and California Organization of Associate Degree Nursing also requesting the temporary relief needed for nursing colleges to start using new simulation methods to help students meet their clinical requirements. On Monday, the BRN reaffirmed that it “is not contemplating curriculum changes for nursing students” in an email statement.

Proponents of these needed changes point to the scientific evidence that confirms the skill-building effectiveness of using simulated and online teaching methods, while suggesting that the current face-to-face mandates are outdated, having been instituted years ago before the advent of more recent training technologies.

If ever there was a time that demanded common-sense regulation changes, it is now. State Chancellor Oakley addressed the issue this week, saying simply that students should be able to complete their programs of study successfully, safely, and on time, so that they can transition into the workforce immediately. California State University Chancellor Timothy White called on Governor Newsom to direct the BRN to make adjustments to its curriculum requirements.

The urgency of this request cannot be overstated. During this crisis, the nursing students of today will soon be expected to provide substantial contributions to the health and well-being of our state’s residents.

What we need now is for Governor Newsom to issue an executive order to the BRN that will cut the red tape and make the necessary regulation changes to ensure nursing students can get where they want to go – on the front lines of the global health pandemic using the skills and training they learned in school to save the lives of Californians.

 

Dr. Van Hook serves as Chancellor of College of the Canyons.

 

 

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