Writer: Felipe Rivas
2 min read November 2020 —Single-purpose colleges are revamping and redesigning what it means to be a healthcare professional in the COVID-19 landscape. Glen Cornwall, dean of the Galen College of Nursing, shares his expert insight into the progress made when it comes to training great nursing professionals to meet the healthcare needs of tomorrow.
What are some recent highlights for the Galen College of Nursing?
We now have a fully up and running master’s program and we are working on the curriculum for a doctoral prepared program. Along with that, to meet the needs of the community, we had a groundbreaking for a South Florida campus, which should be coming online by 2Q21. The plan going forward for 2021 is to add another three campuses across the country.
We also formed a partnership with HCA that enables us to assess the needs of the healthcare community. Together with gauging the needs of the nursing profession itself, we are trying to fill the gaps by installing Galen College in those areas where nontraditional or non-nursing students can be provided with general education courses in arts and sciences. When a student starts his or her education at Galen College, it’s designed to begin with general education courses within the nursing program.
How have courses been adjusted in light of your expansion and the move to the virtual space?
The neat thing about Galen being a single-purpose college is that we do not plan on stepping outside of nursing. We have always looked at having physical and online courses and classes. Due to COVID-19, we have expanded that into a hybrid virtual platform where our students can use Zoom software to attend classes. For some of the courses where they need hands-on learning, the campus that will host those students has implemented CDC-guideline protocols on social distancing to be able to still practice those skills. We make a point of staying up to date with technology while guaranteeing hands-on experiences. Our students are still doing clinicals. Part of that has to do with the fact that we have a great relationship with the community and hospitals are still allowing us to come in and do them.
How are you ensuring student safety?
Safety is top of mind. Our graduation ceremonies have gone virtual as well because we know it’s not safe to pack thousands of people into an auditorium for a graduation. With regard to the clinical aspect of it, we provide our students with the mask and face shields they need to go to clinical. We are not depending on the facility to provide it. We ensure our students are safe. The same applies for when they come onto campus. We provide the masks and face shields when they come to campus to secure their safety. Along with that, whenever a student performs a skill in the skills lab, we have a team that comes in directly after for sanitizing purposes.
How has COVID-19 affected enrollment at Galen College?
We anticipated somewhat of a dip in enrollment but we’ve seen the opposite. There has been an uptick in enrollment and some of that stems from the fact that some schools are unable to enroll so students are finding their way to Galen College. A lot of it is also rooted in word-of-mouth from our students sharing their experience with their peers and motivating them to try it. We have also been able to move to virtual orientation and virtual open houses and the feedback obtained is highly encouraging. Open house attendance has tripled since it went virtual, compared to the usual in-attendance modality.
How are teachers adapting to this new educational landscape?
During the initial onset of COVID-19, it took a while for the faculty to adapt, as expected. But Galen College provided the resources they needed. We did that by reaching out to faculty and getting their first-hand input on the possible ways that their teaching experience could be made easier and more tolerable. Thanks to this direct feedback, we are providing those resources, including tablets that can use a digital whiteboard function through Zoom. Our faculty also gets the same resources we provide our students in terms of PPE for clinicals. We also ensure that our faculty and students are mentally supported as we have an onboard psychologist. We have also added things such as a community resource specialist who is able to reach out to students and the community to gauge both their needs.
What is your outlook for Galen College in 2021?
Just by assessing what is going on with the COVID-19 situation, going into 2021, our guiding principle is progress without it necessarily meaning change. We use progress as a philosophy because it can only go in one, positive direction. That is what we are looking forward to for next year, together with the ongoing expansions of our campuses in South Florida.
For more information, visit: