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More nurses getting ready to join front lines after graduating from local nursing programs

Georgia Gwinnett College is working to ensure students graduate as scheduled to help fight the coronavirus.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — In the midst of a pandemic, nurses across the country have become more essential than ever. Georgia Gwinnett College's nursing is the only college in the state to offer a 'flipped classroom' model which has helped to ensure its nursing students would graduate on time.

A soon to be graduate of the flipped model, Desi Kennedy, says the transition to an online platform was seamless.

"Since we started off with this program where we are basically front-loaded and have access to all of the material and assignments we'll ever need, the transition to online learning was easy," explains Kennedy.

According to Georgia Gwinnett staff, the school is the only nursing program in the state to transition into a flipped classroom model which “flips” the traditional relationship between class time and homework. Students learn at home via online coursework and lectures, and teachers use class time for teacher-guided practice or projects. 

The school transitioned to the online platform at the start of the semester, but staff says it did present the unique challenge of replacing the required clinical experience. Students are required to have 720 hours of hands-on training during the two years it takes to complete the program. As a solution, GGC is now using NurseTim, Inc. and Lippincott Wolters Kluwer to give students access to virtual clinicals.

Dr. Laura Madden, assistant professor of nursing, said she was immediately impressed at the realism of the virtual simulations.

“They even include obstacles such as call bells going off and the patient's family asking questions, all potentially hazardous distractions when giving medications,” she said. “So far, we have gotten very positive feedback on this from both the students and their clinical instructors. Once their clinical day is over, they also have to use an electronic documentation product that we have been using all along to document their patient from the case study, and complete a concept map and care plan for that patient, another activity that we have been doing even before moving online, so that maintains some normalcy for them.”

Dr. Keeta Wilborn, professor of nursing, said she has full confidence the GGC nursing program’s current crop of students will be able to meet the usual high standards and become outstanding nurses in the real world.

“Working with the current group of seniors, I see firsthand their commitment to our profession and their willingness to do the work to not only complete our program but to be successful as nurses,” said Wilborn. “I absolutely believe that each of these seniors will be ready when they graduate to be productive, successful members of the nursing profession. I am truly honored to be part of this last semester with them.”

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