Published on 4/8/2020.
College of the Redwoods will start sending nursing students back to local hospitals and community agencies for their clinical rotations after the Department of Consumer Affairs announced on April 3 that the California Board of Registered Nursing would lower direct patient care contact hour requirements for nursing student clinicals from 75% to 50%.
“Even with the reduced requirements, more than half of CR’s Nursing students would not have made the 50% threshold if we didn’t resume our direct patient care clinicals” said Roberta Farrar, Director of CR’s Nursing program.
As the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in the community, the program was put on hold because of concern for the wellbeing of students, patients and hospital staff, as well as logistical obstacles that came up as the hospitals began to prepare for an influx of COVID-19 patients.
“It was helpful to pull back and see what would happen, both at the hospitals and with the Nursing Board” said Farrar.
As of now, students will work in two units at St. Joseph’s Hospital, with no more than five or six students on each shift. To allow for the smaller groups, shifts have been extended from ten to 12 hours and now include Saturdays and Sundays.
“We are focusing on our 4th semester students, in order to get them to graduate and out into the workforce” said Farrar, adding that it is totally voluntary, and only students who want to go into the hospital or community setting are going. “We feel confident that the hours needed to graduate will be completed by May 5.”
For the PMED/LVN to RN track in Del Norte, Sutter Coast hospital has welcomed the CR Del Norte students back and are offering them 12-hour shifts. The plan is to get the clinical hours completed in over three days. Mad River hospital has also indicated that they are willing to have students return to the hospital for clinical rotations, but the details are yet to be sorted out.
Farrar adds that “the Nursing Department at College of the Redwoods would like to thank all the hospitals and community agencies in both Humboldt and Del Norte County that have been so willing to accommodate our nursing students. I am so appreciative of the nursing faculty who are working tirelessly to meet the needs of our students.”