LU Nursing And Cumberland

Published 2:55 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2011

CUMBERLAND – In school, everyone likes to go see the nurse and with juniors from Longwood University's Nursing Program observing and practicing pediatric nursing at Cumberland Elementary School twice a week, it's a win-win situation for the one school nurse and over 700 students at the school.

Under the supervision of Amy Huddleston, the Elementary School's registered nurse, Cumberland has been hosting nursing students every Tuesday and Thursday, according to Superintendent Dr. Amy Griffin, with each nursing student interning for a week. These students have been able to practice and observe routine care, such as distributing medicine, wound care, physical assessment, as well as vision and hearing screenings.

“I do think this is a win-win situation for Longwood and the school system,” noted Dr. Griffin about the collaboration. “Down at the Elementary School we have 720 or more students and one school nurse and everyone wants to go see the nurse so it does help her to have extra hands in there and I hear it has been a wonderful experience.”

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Longwood Nursing Program's Department Chair, Dr. Melody Eaton, was present for the School Board meeting on November 14 and gave an update to the School Board members about the current collaboration between the school division and the University.

“We really have been fortunate to work with Dr. Griffin and the Elementary School here,” expressed Dr. Eaton. “Amy Huddleston, the school nurse, we have students with her each week and our students are learning great things every day with her and they really appreciate the role of the school nurse and the role the school nurse provides to the community and the whole division here. I actually make visits here on Tuesdays and I can tell you that when I come to Cumberland Elementary they are busy. You have students in and out of that office and the nurse is keeping my students very busy and it's a good busy.”

The nursing juniors at Longwood are, right now, in the pediatric units learning level.

“We really felt that at the school nurse level students see much more in the schools than they would see in the hospital-in the local hospitals,” she offered about the idea to collaborate with local schools. “…Our students…are just getting a tremendous experience and I hope they are helping your school nurse as well.”

Dr. Eaton also noted that the program is open to future joint efforts within the school division and spoke about the need to incorporate education related to the health care fields earlier than the High School level.

“Like in fifth grade or something to that nature,” she advised the Board. “So students can really gear up their science and math requirements so students can get into Longwood or schools like Longwood to be really successful nursing degree candidates. So I hope we can look into ways to do that and look into ways to help in that respect.”

Dr. Eaton also noted that the simulation lab at Longwood should be open by mid-January and that tours can also be scheduled for school-aged groups as an educational opportunity.

“We'll have a 10,000 simulation center that has a bunch of really smart dummies in there,” she said. “They are really smart and they can do lots of things. They can have heart attacks. They can have strokes…We can do CPR on them…We can pre-program them to do whatever we need so students (of Longwood's nursing program) can come in there in small groups and work through a scenario of what they would have to do with a real patient…”

Dr. Eaton also noted diversity and noted to Cumberland's Board about future opportunities to bring in more students to the nursing program from this area.

“Looking at bringing in more students from this area and looking at making students from this area more successful at Longwood and in particular nursing…” she noted as a goal.

After the presentation, School Board member Ginger Sanderson asked Dr. Eaton if it could be a possibility for some from Longwood's program to assist with choking training or CPR training within the school system.

“That's a good idea and we can certainly look into that,” noted Dr. Eaton about a future collaboration possibility.

School Board member Doris Seal noted the school's HOSA organization at the High School and offered how Longwood's nursing students could partner with that association as a way to increase awareness.

“Maybe your students could partner with our students here,” she said about a possible educational opportunity, “to go into the Middle School and go into the Elementary School…That way they are coming in and working with the students and that way the High School students benefit from meeting the college students and moving on down to the elementary/middle school range. It would help the student organization.”

Dr. Eaton said, “I think that is an excellent idea… That's actually a win-win idea.”