TVCC's Registered Nursing Program Staying Ahead

image of nursing students administering covid-19 vaccines

ONTARIO, Ore.‐ The Registered Nursing (RN) Program at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario has been rolling up its sleeves and finding ways to keep students not only in class but also engaged in the clinical setting.

TVCC’s RN program currently has an enrollment of 32 students between the 1st and 2nd‐year classes. One student, in particular, feels without the front‐line clinical experience it just wouldn’t be the same.

“It’s such an experience being able to work in different environments and truly understand where my calling is within the healthcare field,” said Madyson Bell a 2nd‐year RN student at Treasure Valley Community College. “One week I was watching a baby being delivered and the next helping patients in a mental health and substance abuse treatment center.”

This hands‐on experience has become harder to come by during the current pandemic. Jill Humble, TVCC’s Executive Director of Nursing and Allied Health stated, “several sites request that students have their COVID‐19 immunization, now a booster or they may not do clinical rotations at their site.” Although it has not been a huge barrier, it is still one more consideration for facilities to let students do their clinical.

The Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN) sets the number of required patient contact hours; those hours are required for students to graduate. “I have done everything I can in the form of preventative care to avoid contracting the virus. A significant illness could cause me to miss clinical days and fail out” said Bell.

Humble stated when a nursing student is exposed or has COVID‐19 they may not attend clinical or simulation labs due to Oregon Health Authority and/or CDC guidelines. But from the beginning of the COVID crisis, TVCC has adapted to keep nursing classes open.

To help reduce exposure and improve safety, some lectures are held via zoom, labs are divided in half, masks are worn at all times regardless of vaccination status, and temperature checks are performed upon arriving at the nursing building.

And all of these efforts have helped keep nursing students in class and in clinical settings.

“The facilities feel it is important to have the students during the pandemic so they can learn what it is like to work in it and learn to care for patients,” said, Brianne Haun, TVCC Nursing Clinical Coordinator.

This front‐line experience is helping the community too. TVCC nursing students have been instrumental in helping with local vaccination clinics and volunteering at COVID testing sites.

“I’m so proud of our nursing students and our nursing faculty,” said TVCC President Dana M. Young. “They’ve shown incredible resilience and tenacity as they’ve not only continued classes from the beginning of the pandemic but reached out to help our community and add to the healthcare expertise when we needed it most.”

Despite the challenges of a pandemic and with the guidance of knowledgeable faculty and staff, students are achieving their goals and are commended for their steadfast approach to continue their training to get that much closer to obtaining their degrees.