Submitted by Kate
Cabinet Peaks Medical Center is excited to be working with Flathead Valley Community College’s Lincoln County Campus to offer clinical experience to local nursing students.
Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) began offering nursing classes in Libby in the 2016-2017 school year, according to Myrna Ridenour, MSN, RN, and Nursing Program Director at FVCC. They began with the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program for the first year, and added the Registered Nurse (RN) program last fall. Currently there are five students in the LPN program and four students in the RN program. These courses are offered via distance delivery with clinical experience in the healthcare facilities in Libby: that’s where Cabinet Peaks Medical Center (CPMC) comes into the picture.
Currently, two of the RN students who will graduate in August are doing their advanced acute care clinical educational experiences at CPMC. These students are paired with a staff nurse at the medical center who supervises the care they are giving to patients in the acute care center, following the goals and objectives of the FVCC RN program.
“This type of experience is called a precepted experience, and allows students to participate in clinical opportunities at local healthcare facilities,” stated Ridenour. “The students are participating in educational experiences which meet the required goals for the program. The FVCC nursing faculty and CPMC nursing staff have worked together to identify opportunities for the students. Faculty at FVCC oversee the experiences, and Jan Ivers, RN, campus coordinator in Libby works closely with the students and staff to ensure the objectives for the course are met. The FVCC Nursing Director and faculty meet with the managers and staff at CPMC throughout the experience to ensure all is going well.”
Stacey Wood, RN, Employee Health, Infection Control, and Education Coordinator at CPMC says the experience has been a positive one for both the students and the staff at Cabinet Peaks. “The nurses here at CPMC help mentor the nursing students as they learn and grow their knowledge, skills, and abilities. The staff looks for unique learning opportunities that aren’t always available here but might be an everyday or weekly event at a larger facility. They also help them learn general nursing skills such as management of more than one patient, connecting all the information together, when to call the provider, and learning to think critically.”
The nursing students will rotate through the Emergency Department, Acute Care Department, and even have time in the Surgery Department while at Cabinet Peaks. Wood said, “The nurses here at CPMC have been very receptive of having students with them and have done a fabulous job of helping them learn and grow. They understand what it’s like to be a student nurse and are hoping they can help ease these students into a collaborative learning environment. None of this would have been possible if we didn’t have such great nurses willing to help precept these students, and without the college and students’ willingness to be extremely flexible in their schedules.”
“Additionally, this program is a huge benefit to our community for a few different reasons,” Wood continued. “First of all, it offers local learning opportunities for the citizens of Lincoln County, and is another way for our medical center to give back to the community. Secondly, the program can potentially help to grow nurses from our own area who may someday come to work here and help fill the nursing need at the hospital.”
For more information about the local nursing program, please contact FVCC’s Lincoln County Campus at 293-2721.
Photo of a FVCC nursing student taking a blood pressure courtesy of Cabinet Peaks Medical Center.