Practical nursing students in TCAT Elizabethton nursing simulation lab detect an illness programmed into a mannequin by a computer. Photo submitted
While the medical profession nationally faces unprecedented attacks on the COVID-19 virus, 65 students at TCAT Elizabethton are preparing to assist by becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse. Currently, there is a 100 percent job placement rate in the area for nurses. Patricia Henderson, a student services coordinator, just completed orientation sessions for 65 new nursing students following CDC guidelines. College President Dean Blevins said TCAT Elizabethton would continue “hybrid” instruction in the next trimester that begins January 4, 2021.
Blevins said the decision was prompted by the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the Northeast Tennessee region and also with Gov. Bill Lee’s recent guidance that includes a strong recommendation to work from home if possible. “I have decided to continue our “hybrid” instruction delivery mode we were in at the end of the Fall 2020 trimester,” Blevins said.
Blevins advised faculty to use online instruction as much as possible with limited in-person activities on campus. If there is a need to have in-person instructional sessions, Blevins said faculty must: Maintain small groups of 10 or fewer including instructor (unless pre-approved by the administration); Use the health screening questionnaire; and, Follow CDC safety guidelines (social distancing, face coverings required, etc.).
Meanwhile, seven students have completed the online Certified Dietary Manager (CDM) program, according to Lisa Blackburn, program coordinator. For the past eight months, CDM students used the internet to access 714 web-based online hours, in addition to 150 hours of field training in hospitals and nursing homes in the student’s local area.
In addition to nursing and online dietary manager programs, there was 100 student job placement in Automotive, Machine Tools, and Pipefitting at TCAT Elizabethton for the 12 months ending August. 31, 2020. TCAT Elizabethton faculty, staff, and administration are preparing the next generation of workers to meet the pandemic challenges.Bullen said there is a shortage of healthcare workers caused by the pandemic. The practical nursing program is helping to fill that gap, she said.