As COVID-19 continues to impact cities and countries around the world, faculty and staff of numerous colleges and universities have been making huge strides in transitioning to a remote learning environment. Dr. Bimpe Adedipe, the undergraduate program director of Cleveland State University’s School of Nursing, has been working non-stop to guarantee that students can continue to receive an engaging and high-quality education though they are not present in a classroom.
Dr. Adedipe, a clinical assistant professor of nursing who has been at CSU since 2013, is responsible for ensuring that all undergraduate course operations run smoothly, while still allowing the voices of faculty staff and students to be heard. Following the decision to transition the University to remote operations, Dr. Adedipe and her team put together a comprehensive plan to move course work for over 400 undergraduate nursing students online, while also ensuring individuals continued to have access to needed advising, tutoring and laboratory resources.
“Many nursing courses are extremely hands-on, including numerous clinical and Nursing Resource Lab (NRL) exercises, which are required for state licensure and to meet the Ohio Board of Nursing requirement for accreditation,” Dr. Adedipe says. “We worked with the Nursing School leadership and faculty to review several clinical software packages available on the market and quickly decide on the best program that will evaluate student learning effectively and ensure that faculty have the technical tools needed to make the transition possible.”
As part of this effort, the School of Nursing introduced a virtual simulator software, vSim, which gives nursing students the ability to move forward with clinicals through an alternate delivery method. The purpose of using the vSim software is to ensure that students continue to receive quality education even though they are not physically receiving face-to-face clinical instruction. Through simulations, the students move through pre-briefing information on a patient, where they discuss the assignments for the virtual clinical day, followed by a written care plan, which helps students to identify patient needs, interpret information and identify appropriate nursing actions. At the end of every vSim exercise, the clinical faculty holds a debriefing session followed by a reflective discussion of the exercise and areas needing improvement.
The simulator gives students the chance to make a connection between what is learned in the classroom and the NRL, and practice those skills learned in a simulated clinical environment, all from the comfort of their homes. Also, students have access to an educational Electronic Health Record (EHR Go) platform, which is a software that is designed to encourage students to become proficient in health technology and documentation. The EHR Go includes 600+ customizable patient cases and activities built around the diverse and realistic human stories that healthcare professionals and students would normally encounter in the clinical area. The EHR Go has proven very useful for all nursing clinical courses and NRL exercises.
“Through this transition, it has been critical for students, faculty and NRL staff to communicate with each other via Zoom meetings to make alternate delivery as smooth as possible and address any challenges as soon as they arise,” Dr. Adedipe adds. “I would like to particularly thank the School of Nursing faculty and the NRL staff who all worked tirelessly to develop a new schedule that was accommodative to students and could effectively substitute for in-person learning in a very short time.”
Though there is still a lot more to learn, the feedback that Dr. Adedipe and her team have received shows that their transition to alternative delivery is working well for students and faculty. Moving forward, she hopes to continue to tweak operations to better meet needs and address problems as they arise. She will also work to incorporate elements of the programs they have developed through remote learning into in-class courses once CSU returns to campus.
“A lot of the methods we are now using will support in-class education and provide more value to our students,” Dr. Adedipe says. “That is a clear positive outcome of this effort.”