Nursing Student Makes Life-Saving Observation

February 26, 2020 |

East Central College nursing student Ciara McDonald, recently noticed a subtle change in a stroke patient’s condition while she was conducting an assessment at Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital (MBSH).

McDonald, of Cuba, is an extern in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Following the assessment, she immediately notified her preceptor, the patient’s bedside nurse. The preceptor continued to assess the patient, which prompted the activation of the hospital’s stroke team.

McDonald’s astute observation skills allowed a quick response to the patient’s declining condition. Ultimately the patient was treated and is doing very well.

The second-year nursing student is part of the inaugural class of the Missouri “Earn While You Learn to be an RN” program. The new curriculum already is having an impact on lives, and not just for the nursing students. According to McDonald, she asks a lot of questions of her preceptor and instructors to be sure she is providing the best possible care to patients.

“It is crucial to know the key things and keep good notes on what to look for — that is important for a thorough assessment,” she said.

The MBSH Clinical Excellence Team awarded McDonald a “Good Catch” award recognizing her steps in caring for the patient and making MBSH a safer place to receive care and work.

Earn While You Learn

The Missouri State Board of Nursing recently fast-tracked a change to its regulations to allow for qualified nursing students to be part of the workforce beginning this year. The curriculum change was a collaborative request by ECC, MBSH, and Mercy Hospital Washington.

ECC and the two hospitals asked for the change to introduce a new model of nursing education. The program transforms the clinical learning experience by placing students who are in their fourth, and final, semester of the associate degree in nursing (ADN) into the workforce.

Through the program, students like McDonald, earn a wage while learning hands-on, real-world practices and becoming part of the nursing culture. Learn more about the nursing degree options at ECC. The intent of the Earn While You Learn to be an RN curriculum is to combat the nursing shortage in Missouri and to reduce new nurse turnover rates. After McDonald graduates this May, she will continue to work in the ICU at MBSH for two years as part of the program.