The School of Nursing and Allied Medical Sciences (SNAMS) hosted the 4th Program Advisory Council plenary session on October 16, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. via Zoom meeting, delegated by the faculty, several student representatives, and alumni across all the programs including graduate school, with the attendance of esteemed industry partners and lecturers.
The activity was set to discuss the school's instructional design that is in adherence to the Commission on Higher Education's (CHED) Memorandum Order (CMO) no. 4, Series of 2020, "Guidelines on the Implementation of Flexible Learning" that promotes student-centered learning, especially in this time of pandemic where online education is the only viable option.
Adjustments in holding related learning experience (RLE) subjects and deploying interns soon were highlighted as the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic brought about limitations in the education of future healthcare workers.
Prof. Al D. Biag, the dean of SNAMS stipulated about PAC's essence that, "Today, more than ever before, we [in SNAMS] need to make higher education more university-community partnerships oriented. We make this a reality by regular engagement with our stakeholders in the form of a two-way meeting between us and them. It is two-way in the sense that our stakeholders provide us guidance and feedback about making our programs current and relevant while we provide them the latest regulatory mandates and institutional initiatives relative to teaching and learning of our students."
After the introductory segment, a breakout session was done dividing the delegates starting from the faculty down to the students into their respective program/courses/field of specialization. Each session was facilitated by the respected program coordinators from every department - Asst. Prof. Noriel Calaguas, MSHSA, RN for BS Nursing, Asst. Prof. John Mark De Vera, MSHSA, RRT for BS Radiologic Technology, Asst. Prof. Jai Anthony Cuevas, MSHSA, RMT for BS Medical Technology, and Asst. Prof. Precious Jean M. Marquez, Ph.D., MSN, RN for the Graduate programs.
The breakout sessions tackled three focus topics/questions:
1.) How can we strengthen academe and industry collaboration/partnership in the new normal?; 2.) On the internship program, how can we ensure the safety of our stakeholders (especially students/interns) in light of the new normal?; 3.) How can we support and enhance the structured clinical learning experience for the internship program?
Summary of breakout sessions
- Nursing program
Resource sharing with partner institutions is a possibility to complement clinical learning, maybe in the forms of video simulations. Furthermore, a stepwise approach will be employed in reentering RLE, mirroring the SNAMS instructional model for flexible learning, with up-to-date safety protocols and guidelines to be set in place. In addition to the list of required vaccinations before RLE, a COVID-19 vaccine will be mandatory as a preventive measure once available.
In the meantime, case studies are alternatives for clinical exposure; partner institutions can provide students the mentioned learning materials. Problem-based learning anchored on a clinical focus per week or duty will be integrated into the RLE program. Partner institutions nodded to support the school's initiatives on its Structured Clinical Learning Experience(SCLE).
- Medical technology program
Externships are proposed to hone required skills and competencies, as the department waits for CHED's advice and update regarding hospital internship. To lessen risk exposure, deployment in primary and secondary laboratories may be allowed, as opposed to interning in tertiary hospital laboratories.
In the case of non-deployment, training officers from partner institutions are asked to conduct lectures and virtual training for students; pathologic samples can also be sent to the department for school-based examinations. Competencies gained in clinical practice must be identified to deliver them on-campus. As the program follows outcome-based education (OBE), a checklist of outcomes and/or manual shall be prepared collaboratively by the School for its incoming interns. The department will wait for a standardized manual from the Philippine Association of Schools of Medical Technology and Public Health (PASMETH).
- Radiologic technology program
If face-to-face classes will still be not allowed, the BSRT program conceptualizes to use of video simulations that will be done by partner institutions or hospitals to address the learning needs of students, most especially the supposed interns. The utilization of the x-ray laboratory was also up for the options when limited interactions will be allowed in education.
On another hand, if an internship will be allowed, the health of the students such that of taking vitamins and immunization is at topmost priority. It was also suggested that consent from parents must be acquired, and students can stay in temporary or staff houses for the duration of their limited internship, instilling also the practice of proper handwashing and wearing of PPEs during their stay. Another option is the deployment of interns in non-COVID (not accommodating COVID cases) institutions. In line with this situation, a Cohesive Training Program will be set to meet learning outcomes, under which are return demonstrations and quizzes in idle or free time during duties and initiating awards such as "Best Radiograph of the Month".
- Graduate school
A round-table discussion will be prepared when suggestions are integrated into the proposed curricular provisions alongside the changes in the course titles to either be more 'inclusive or encompassing'. Focus points on a specific course besides core courses to further align to the PQF (Philippine Qualifications Framework) Level 7 were also streamlined for Masters, along with Preparation for the Advanced Practice Nursing, and PQF Level 8 for Doctorate.