Nursing program faculty teach lifesaving skills to DC community

Have you noticed the automated external defibrillators (AED) placed throughout the campus? Would you know how to use one of them to save a life?

Earlier this month, in recognition of National Nursing Week, professors from Durham College’s (DC) and Ontario Tech University’s collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) program took their AED simulator around campus to offer training to faculty members, employees and students. They also demonstrated the proper use of naloxone kits, which can save the life of someone experiencing an opioid overdose.

“We care about the health of Ontarians, and that means creating opportunities across the campus and the province for teaching and learning,” explained Dr. Sue Coffey, a professor in the collaborative program. “There’s a lot of basic first aid and intervention that can help the public make a difference.”

The demonstrations gave the campus community a glimpse into a career that plays a critical role in our health system. It’s never been more important to encourage people to enter the nursing profession, according to BScN professor Leslie Graham.

“We’re in a critical shortage of nurses,” Graham said. “We really encourage people to come to our Open Houses and see if nursing is a career that they would like.”

DC is leading the way in preparing the next generation of nurses, both in collaboration with Ontario Tech on the BScN program and on its own with programs like Practical Nursing and Critical Care Nursing.

“We provide high quality education in all of our programs,” said Dr. Coffey.

A high-pressure career at the best of times, nursing was significantly impacted by the strain of the pandemic. Some nurses retired early or switched careers, and replacing them isn’t easy, according to Dr. Arlene de la Rocha, another professor in the collaborative program.

“We almost always feel like we’re playing catch up. We can’t quite get enough people working, we can’t quite get enough people educated and through a program,” she said.

Whatever injury or illness brings a person to the hospital, nurses are there to provide skilled and compassionate care. Whether directing new arrivals in the emergency department or comforting patients and their family members, it’s a job that takes a physical and emotional toll every day.

“It is the art and science, the caring they bring to that patient but also that skill level, that high degree of thinking and critical judgment that they need to demonstrate,” said Dr. de la Rocha.

DC’s programs and professors are doing their part to ensure Durham Region, Ontario and Canada at large have an abundance of qualified and passionate nurses.