You are the owner of this article.

Piedmont Technical College fast tracks nursing students to help with COVID-19 pandemic

PTC Nursing 1.jpg

Registered practical nursing and licensed practical nursing students were not held back by the Piedmont Technical College’s decision to finish the school year online, because they got to take their simulation labs, and do their hospital observations earlier than normal.

Eight weeks ago, Piedmont Technical College President Ray Brooks’s administration foresaw the coronavirus pandemic spreading onto, or near, its campuses and leading to the suspension of face-to-face instruction — something that proved correct, with the college announcing on March 20 that students would finish the school year online.

Registered practical nursing and licensed practical nursing students were not held back by the college’s decision because they got to take their simulation labs and do their hospital observations earlier than normal. Brooks described the coronavirus pandemic as “our generation’s World War II moment” and said nurses and other health care professionals are the heroes.

RPN and LPN nursing students increased the amount of time they spent in clinical settings to complete as many checkoffs and labs earlier in the semester because administrators anticipated the college potentially having to move to a different operating environment. At the time, the administration did not know what the other operating environment would be, but Brooks said the college’s sizeable online presence made leadership comfortable delivering the theory and didactic portions of the curriculum online.

The college has 45 RPNs and 30 LPNs finishing this semester. The students will still need to pass their finals and licensure exams before they begin working in hospitals.

Certified nursing assistant and veterinary technician students at the college’s Newberry campus did not get to take their labs early. The college is looking at ways to bring these students on campus for their labs, or even extending the semester until the campus is safe. Brooks maintains it is important that the college does not do anything to possibly expose faculty or students to any disease. The school is also looking at options for students who do not feel safe being on campus to complete their labs.

PTC offers a gamut of health care programs — including evasive and non-invasive cardiology, respiratory, RPN, LPN, surgical technology and EMT certification. Administrators concentrated on students who had to complete their labs to graduate on time, and needing LPNs and RPNs during the coronavirus pandemic also played a factor.

“We had people ready to go and were getting close. We wanted to make sure we got them out there,” Brooks said. “If hospitals get in a crunch, existing health care folks are overwhelmed, be assured that we are putting a group of well trained, qualified people out in the workforce to take care of us.”

Contact reporter Jonathan Limehouse at 864-943-5644 or follow him on Twitter @jon_limehouse.

COVID-19

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

Some business owners in Uptown Greenwood are frustrated with the city’s passing of a mandatory mask ordinance. Others are optimistic it won’t hurt sales.

In an attempt to stem transmission of COVID-19 among young adults in South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster ordered Friday that alcohol sales at bars and restaurants end after 11 p.m.

State health officials reported 1,725 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday as well as 26 additional confirmed deaths. There are 1,438 hospital beds occupied by patients who have either tested positive or are under investigation for COVID-19, and 177 of those patients are on…

As Greenwood County approaches 700 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus since March, the first Index-Journal employee has tested positive for the fast-spreading respiratory virus.

Greenwood County School District 52 will be accommodating students who do not feel comfortable returning to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic by offering a remote virtual option for the fall semester.

At the onset of the 2020-21 academic year, Abbeville County School District will be giving its students a completely virtual learning option with the introduction of iTECH Academy.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As the Lakelands and the country respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has led to state and national emergency declarations, it is vital for everyone to have up-to-date information about the virus and its spread. As such, we're providing free access to all of our COVID-19 coverage, which is available on this page.

Here's the latest information on COVID-19 from health agencies and hospitals: