Huntington University nursing students begin hospital clinical

Senior nursing students at Huntington University will begin working in the Parkview Huntington and Parkview Whitley hospitals on Thursday.

The 10 students will conduct health assessments, give medications, perform several treatments and assist with activities of daily living to fulfill a clinical requirement a course. Five students will work at the Huntington location, and five will care for patients in Columbia City.

Students will go through an orientation process and then will begin patient care on the adult medical-surgical unit Sept. 30. The clinical will continue every Thursday through Dec. 2.

"Before they ever go to a clinical site, they have plenty of practice of skills in the nursing learning center lab," said Kelly Barlow, nursing lab coordinator at Huntington University. "They've learned through their nursing courses about the diseases, but they've also learned how to properly assess and provide nursing care. They put it all together when they're in the clinical setting with real, live patients with the benefit of having an instructor."

Barlow, along with nursing department professor Karen Rose, will supervise the clinical experience. Barlow will oversee the clinical at Parkview Whitley, and Rose will supervise at Parkview Huntington.

"The students will be functioning alongside their college nursing professor and our nurses under their direct supervision to provide direct care to our patients based on the patient needs and on the skills that the students have learned and practiced in the classroom setting," said Johnathan Liechty, manager of student services with Parkview Health. "The students will not replace staff or fill staff shortages, but rather partner with them to deliver quality care."

The primary focus of this clinical experience is the adult medical-surgical unit, but Rose said the students will be given opportunities to observe in other areas of the hospitals, including the operating room and the emergency room.

"We are also making arrangements for them to observe IV infusions," Rose said.

Barlow said that she and Rose will meet with the hospital staff each Wednesday morning to select assignments and to request patient's permission for the nursing students to care for them. The students will receive their assignments Wednesday afternoon and then visit the patient in order to assess his or her condition and any medications he or she is taking before caring for them the next day.

As a part of the first group of students who will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from HU, senior Lindsey Stavedahl, of Rochester, Ind., said she hopes to gain many skills in this clinical that she will need to be a successful nurse.

"I always look forward to every clinical experience that I have as a nursing student," she said. "They give me great opportunities to learn more and experience different situations as a nurse that I am not able to experience in the classroom setting. It allows me to put the knowledge and skills that I have learned to work in the actual hospital setting."