Health care program manager starts nurse refresher course at HCC

May 13, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION |
  • Peggy Scibelli, left, of Walkersville, Md., gives an IV to a medical mannequin as Hagerstown Community College Nursing Professor Lori Manilla looks on.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Nurses who have been out of the profession for a number of years must be retrained before they can enter the health care field again.

Susan Lee wants to do what she can to fill that need at Hagerstown Community College.

Lee is the new health care program manager in the continuing education department at the college, where people preparing to re-enter the health care field can obtain their training in a hospital-like setting.

Because Lee was just hired to her vacant position in January, the nurse refresher course was not offered last fall, Lee said.

Now that she’s in the position, Lee said she wants to open up the training facilities to the refresher students as much as possible.

Although students in the nurse refresher course pay about $1,100 for the course, it’s a noncredit course, Lee said.

A simulation lab that the students practice in is set aside for credit students, but Lee has worked to set aside extra time in the lab so the noncredit students can train in it.

In Maryland, registered nurses and licensed practical nurses who once were licensed, but then worked less than 1,000 hours in five years are placed on an “inactive” status, triggering the need for the nurse refresher training if they want to re-enter the field, Lee said.

In HCC’s nurse refresher class, students attend 80 hours of lecture, and study for 12 hours in the simulation lab, where they practice skills such as starting intravenous medication and catheters in the mannequins.

A third component of the training is 60 hours of clinical work, which is experience in health institutions such as the Western Maryland Hospital Center and Brook Lane, Lee said.

On a recent afternoon, students in the refresher course worked in the hospital-like surroundings in the simulation lab, where mannequins with a variety of complications awaited help from the students in training.

Elaine Nawiesniak, 48, was an emergency room nurse, but it has been seven years since she worked in the field. Nawiesniak’s husband is in the military, and they have moved around a lot in the last 20 years, living in Texas, North Dakota, Florida and Japan.

Nawiesniak, who now lives in Frederick, Md., said her husband is about to retire, and now that their children are growing older, she decided to go back to nursing.

“They’re all growing up and leaving now and going to college, and I decided this was a good opportunity for me to go back to something I really enjoyed and missed,” Nawiesniak said.

Nawiesniak was finishing her 12 hours of skills lab, and she had two weeks of lecture left. Then, she plans to tackle her 60 hours of clinical work.

Mike Eckstine, 48, of Hagerstown, studied nursing previously at Hagerstown Community College. Eckstine was working in a hospital when he suffered a stroke in 2006 and lost 75 percent of his vision.

“I wasn’t invited back to the hospital,” Eckstine said.

Now that Eckstine has a chance of landing a case manager position with a local community health center, he needs the refresher course in order to reactivate his nursing license.

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