gmhTODAY 16 gmhToday Sept Oct 2017 - Page 96

Gavilan Nursing Program: Dedication is the Heart of its Success Written By Kimberly Ewertz A medical situation occurs in the middle of the night, requiring a trip to the Emergency Room. Upon arrival, the key to receiving the correct treatment hinges on the proper assessment of the patient’s condition; surprisingly this responsibility falls not to the doctor, but the nurse. “The assessment is crucial, and the nurse is the first person right there, right there,” said Debbie Amaro, Allied Health Director at Gavilan College. In her role as Director, Amaro oversees not only Gavilan’s Nursing Program, but also the Medical Assisting, Certified Nursing Assistant, and Home Health Aid programs. “When you assess a patient, you have to figure out what’s wrong, and what to do about it,” Amaro said. With a background including over 28 years of nursing experience, and over ten years as a Gavilan instructor for the second year LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) program, Amaro can attest to the fact that Gavilan nursing graduates exit the program instilled with a specific set of exceptional standards: professionalism, accountability, autonomy, and most importantly, patient safety. Proof of that fact came earlier this year, when Amaro received notification from the President of PracticalNursing.org, Bryce Hall, that Gavilan’s LVN, Program ranked eleventh, out of the top thirty LVN programs in the state of California. “I think it’s our curriculum, it’s all the instructors’ commitment to having their students do really well, and work hard to have them understand how to be a nurse,” Amaro said. Gavilan’s nursing program is a three-year program, consisting of two years LVN training, and one-year RN, (Registered Nurse). Linda Stubblefield, first year instructor of the LVN to RN program, 96 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN believes the first year is very important. “You have to be able to really assess when a patient’s in trouble, and be able to get a referral, and get someone to look at them right away,” Stubblefield said. In order to acquire this crucial skill, first year LVN students are introduced to clinical rotations as early as three weeks into the program, working alongside nurses in the hospitals, helping provide patient care. “It reinforces them, and gives them a chance to do all these skills on a real person,” Amaro said. Jennifer Clark, 38, an Emergency Room nurse, and 2011 Gavilan RN graduate, agrees. “They kind of get you in there, and get your feet wet, that’s excellent,” Clark said. Shannon Martinez, 36, a 2014 Gavilan RN graduate, and a Critical Care Program/Step Down unit nurse at Valley Medical Center, feels the program gave her the added advantage to be her best. “I feel like the amount of time I had in contact with people has helped me in my career, because I’m comfortable with people now. I can go into a patient’s room, and have confidence,” Martinez said, adding that it was scary at first, but very “beneficial.” After completion of the two-year LVN program, the nursing student transitions to the RN program. “We’ve created the program now, so the LVN students, as long as they have a 2.5 GPA, they can go straight through into the RN class at the end,” Amaro said. This new system differs from past years, which required an LVN graduate to apply to the RN program, with no assurance that they would be accepted. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 gmhtoday.com