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Nursing students begin clinical sessions

Clinical sessions for nursing majors provide a hands on experience where students get the chance to work in hospitals before graduating. Photo courtesy of Patrick McLntyre

Kyarra Harris

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Assistant professor Sara Kaylor is in charge of the student nurses during their second semester in the UA nursing program, which includes clinical sessions.

“Our students start off in clinical practice labs here on campus,” Kaylor said. “They learn skills such as running an IV or giving medications using models.”

Kaylor said these sessions give students an idea of what to expect in hospitals and give them the confidence they need before working with real patients. Toward the end of the semester, students will work in a simulation that serves as a lifelike model.

“It’s about being hands-on,” Kaylor said. “Even more so, it is about gaining confidence. With the practice lab, you get comfortable, master the skills and develop critical thinking. The simulation is nice because it combines all of that with active hands-on learning.”

Haley Strickland, assistant professor and coordinator of student nurses’ fifth semester, said the goal is to have their students be able to work under stress.

“We offer a class called Complex Client, which are critical care patients,” Strickland said. “Students have six weeks in the ICU setting. During the midterm of the semester, they start their preceptorship. Students request to work with a nurse and work with them for a total of 225 hours. Students have a number of options, from DCH or anywhere in Birmingham. We’ve had students go to Huntsville, Mobile, the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and we’ve even had a student 
go to Vanderbilt.”

Kaylor said she loves watching students develop a passion for what they do.

“The ultimate goal is that they love and have passion for nursing,” Kaylor said. “I want them to develop that passion and translate that into great nursing care. Nursing is awesome because we’re invited into someone’s personal space when they are at their most vulnerable. To be in that space takes a lot of skill and talent. Being able to do that, while treading softly and being keenly aware, is a great skill.”

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Nursing students begin clinical sessions