Establishing a Community of Care

The School of Health and Community Services (HCS) faculty showed their commitment in helping students and staff tackle remote learning by creating a Community of Care consisting of their staff and students. The HCS faculty worked collaboratively to provide support for their students and staff in need through open communication, emotional support, as well as IT support throughout the past three months. With the need to move to remote learning, revisions have been made to courses including virtual delivery plans and revised learning activities and problem-solving opportunities.

We asked three faculty members in HCS, Deborah Schuh, Debra Morrison and Kimberlee Neault, to share insights on the challenges, developments and simulations faced during the transition period.

Deborah Schuh:

Deborah Schuh

AGE online course

Deborah Schuh is the program co-ordinator for the Personal Support Worker (PSW) program. She teaches Anatomy and Physiology, Professional Growth Issues and leads PSW labs. She has supported the PSW Faculty, teaching during the May semester and integrated simulation and other learning activities. As a certified GPA (Gentle Persuasive Approaches) coach, she delivers the GPA Training-Dementia Care certificate training to PSW students and collaborates with AGE (Advanced Gerontological Education) to deliver the online version to students.

home made cards LTC

home made card LTC

In collaboration with PSW students and other faculty members, they partnered with long-term care (LTC) facilities by providing virtual calls, making homemade cards, and writing positive thoughts for residents isolated in LTCs. It was a student-driven initiative. Ms. Schuh sent virtual copies to both LTC regional sites and to PSW students who were working in LTCs.

The realities of the pandemic were integrated into the PSW program, providing students with scenarios based on real world experiences. For example, students completed part of a formal critique online by uploading videos of donning and removal of personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand hygiene. This made learning relevant and authentic.

Ms. Schuh has developed a comprehensive PSW PLAR process and activities to support the 28 stranded PSW students to complete their placement and finish the PSW program over the Spring/Summer. Some of these students are currently working for LTCs. Further, Ms. Schuh worked with the Oshawa Senior Community Centres to develop a unique remote community placement for 8 of the above-mentioned stranded students.

Ms. Schuh recognizes and appreciates the importance of collaboration, and named just a few of the team members that were part of the effort including Wendy Aspin Curran, Kimberlee Neault, Katherine Rautenberg, Marie McEwan, Nancy McGuire, Joycelyn Kelly, Shari Kinney, Sara Horruzey and the HCS leadership team.

Debra Morrison

Debra MorrisonAnother faculty member of HCS who contributed to the school’s community of care is Debra Morrison.

Debra Morrison is the first-year co-ordinator and professor, in the Practical Nursing program. She also teaches in the Nursing Sciences: Anatomy and Physiology/ Pathophysiology and Critical Care Nursing e-learning graduate certificate program.

Ms. Morrison has been working with the placement and agency partners to determine when the students can resume clinical practice.

She says, “It will be a gradual process, but with the declining numbers of COVID cases, I hope that we will continue to have more agencies ready to take back the students. We are currently also investigating some options for virtual simulations.”

In HCS, all program teams have taken up the remote delivery challenge and the nursing program has been able to deliver all the theory remotely including the Virtual Practice Labs.

“CAFE has been a wonderful support for faculty as they navigate through virtual delivery. The use of Microsoft Teams and Virtual Classroom have worked very well for both lectures and demonstrations. The program now has three hybrid courses in place that have facilitated the transition, and all nursing textbooks are available as e-books and have been useful in the process.”

As a nurse, there are many skills that need to be learned and trained, such as sterile dressing changes, IV management and health assessment, to name a few. With that in mind, the delivery of the theory was easily switched to remote; however, the demonstration and practice of the skills required more creativity. The team has been able to successfully meet this challenge.

Kimberlee Neault

Kimberlee NeaultThe third faculty member is Kimberlee Neault who teaches in both the PSW and Dental Programs. During COVID-19, Ms. Neault regularly updated faculty about CAFE workshops and where they could get support, as well as communicating how to use and determine which remote delivery platform is better tailored to the needs of the individual faculty member. She knew the importance of keeping faculty in contact with student communications about remote delivery expectations and important dates or updates on return to campus.

Ms. Neault used Teams, Bongo and Zoom platforms and provided guidance to compare each platform using the CAFE to navigate the new platforms. To ensure that all the resources were at faculty’s fingertips, she sifted through the information and selected a few pieces she needed to learn in advance to quickly pivot to remote delivery. The use of Respondus Monitor for exams has been successful in dental programs and the innovative delivery of case studies and virtual simulation have been successful in the PSW program.

She says, “First of all, I’ve taught myself by trial and error and I’ve expanded my previous online teaching skills. The transition period (timeline) was very intense with a lot to do and very little time to adapt. Developing new course outlines, tests etc. requires thoughtful development and doing so in isolation was a challenge. I personally reached out to my colleagues for discussion, collaboration and support. It was pretty awesome to see the teachers at our team meetings come together to assist each other with new thoughts and help student achievement at the forefront of all we’re doing.”

Ms. Neault also uses intelligent agent features to personalize student announcement and reminders, as well as discussion boards & the chat feature. She found that the students responded well, and used it in real time (live). The use of Respondus was also a useful tool for remote learning. Students are able to prepare and finish the course at a time that is suitable for them.

She says, “I enjoy engaging with students in a simulated environment that might be a “success supportive” atmosphere that I strive to build in our online classroom. I ensure that students benefit from well-practiced time management skills when they enter the workforce.”

Ms. Neault hopes to provide virtual office hours so that students realize that you have time set aside for them and she focuses on the positive in the virtual classroom by celebrating student success.