This issue of CONtact is focused on how the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s College of Nursing faculty and staff function in a rapidly changing healthcare environment. 2020 is the Year of the Nurse, and the COVID-19 pandemic makes this proclamation even more appropriate. As essential workers, nurses are critical healthcare providers and in the college they are also faculty.
Public health officials identified actions for individuals, organizations and community, resulting in the closure of campus in March 2020. When faced with the need to move instruction from face-to-face to other modes of delivery, the College of Nursing faculty and staff quickly sprang into action. We identified three objectives to guide us through the pandemic challenge:
- Keep patients, students, faculty and staff safe
- Provide education to nursing students to meet community need
- Support the community and healthcare providers
Faculty and staff modified course formats, revised clinical experiences, implemented new ways to teach students and switched to virtual meetings. Students responded in a resilient manner by participating in virtual education, completing assignments and taking exams and quizzes online. Students, faculty and staff all learned to work remotely and adjusted to the rapidly changing environment.
In spring 2020, 203 students in the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs successfully completed requirements for graduation. Maintaining high academic standards is the responsibility of nurse faculty. During spring 2020, the CON hosted an accreditation visit by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education surveyors for our undergraduate and master’s programs. The surveyors reported compliance with all standards.
Many nurse faculty also serve at the bedside. You will find information on how faculty incorporate bedside nursing care knowledge into their role as nurse faculty. I hope you find this issue of CONtact valuable. While events and diseases surrounding us may change, the vision of the CON to build upon its tradition of developing caring and scholarly leaders who positively impact contemporary and future healthcare has not.
Judith Westphal PhD, RN, NEA-BC
Dean, College of Nursing