College acknowledges the people who make clinical education possible
Education in the health professions wouldn't be complete without clinical experience. On March 23, the College of Health Professions and the McAuley School of Nursing honored the unsung heroes who make clinical education possible for UDM students preparing to become nurses, physician assistants, nurse anesthetists and health services administrators.
At a reception held at the College of Health Professions, Dean Suzanne Mellon presented preceptors and clinical coordinators with certificates of appreciation for all the work they do to provide UDM students with the clinical hours they need to complete their degrees. She also recognized the affiliate faculty members who bring their clinical experience into the classroom.
Mellon praised the preceptors who attended the recognition ceremony for investing their time and energy in the future of the health professions.
"I know that having a mentor who was in practice in the community was so enriching for me," says Mellon, who is a registered nurse. "It made a significant difference in my education."
There is a lot of competition for clinical education, and Mellon thanked the clinical coordinators in attendance for providing opportunities to UDM students.
Physician Assistant student Rob Miljan III, Health Services Administration student Tyra Tomlin and Nurse Anesthesia student Kimberly Schlosser spoke about how preceptors and clinical coordinators have helped them reach their professional goals.
"Each and every one of my preceptors has been very good, very forthright, very honest," Miljan says. "They have been kind with their criticism, always motivating, always positive in their reinforcement, always excellent in their clinical knowledge."
Associate Professor of Nurse Anesthesia Michael Dosch, who also chairs the program, has a unique perspective on the importance of clinical education because he is both a classroom professor and a preceptor.
"In the classroom we teach them what and why, but we don't teach them how," Dosch says. "That's an art, and it's passed on from person to person."
As a preceptor, Dosch knows it can be hard to provide students with a good learning experience while at the same time doing everything possible to provide for the safety and comfort of the patient. As a professor, he knows that teaching in a clinical setting is often more challenging than giving a classroom lesson.
"You have to be a mind reader," Dosch says. "If the student is fumbling, you have to figure out why."
Of course, hospitals and medical facilities also benefit from the effort involved in providing clinical education. In doing their part to create the next generation of health professionals, hospital administrators have the opportunity to recruit the best and the brightest.
Ruth Watts, a nurse anesthetist at St. John Medical Center in Detroit, says UDM students are very enthusiastic, eager to learn and a pleasure to work with. The clinical program helps the hospital staff identify students with the "right chemistry" to work at St. John's.
A clinical rotation led to a job at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit for David Dereczyk '79. Now that he is chief physician assistant for the Department of Emergency Medicine, he hires UDM students who have done clinical work there.
Being a preceptor is also a learning experience for Dereczyk. "It keeps us up with current trends in our practice," he says. "It keeps you on your toes."
Nurse Practitioner Mike Wesner says the students who work with him get to see the many tasks that nurse practitioners perform at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Detroit. In return, he benefits from the strong didactic foundation that UDM students have gained in the classroom.
"The students bring the fundamentals back to the practice that aren't always top of mind," Wesner says.