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ECC President Assists in Nursing Training

Edgecombe Community College President Dr. Greg McLeod is among college personnel who are serving as standardized patients this fall to assist with nursing clinicals since many healthcare facilities remain closed to students due to pandemic restrictions. In his role as a standardized patient, Dr. McLeod is shown being cared for by associate degree nursing student Emelyn Rivas.

Clinical experiences are an important component of education and training in nursing programs at Edgecombe Community College. During clinicals, supervised nursing students interact with patients in healthcare settings.

Due to pandemic restrictions, many clinical sites closed their doors to nursing students in 2020 and remain closed to students.

This fall, instructors, staff, the college president, and college trustee Carl Warren are filling the gap by serving as standardized patients for first-year associate degree nursing students and practical nursing students. These students work regularly with patient simulators, but their instructors believe that human interactions are essential.

“Effective communication skills are critical for nursing professionals,” says Brittany Cherry, nursing instructor. “These skills are best learned through working with live patients.”

In October, ECC President Dr. Greg McLeod volunteered to serve as two different standardized patients.

According to Cherry, “One of the clients that he portrayed was admitted to the hospital for gallbladder surgery (cholecystectomy) and required an incisional dressing change. The second client that he portrayed was diabetic and admitted to the hospital for surgical removal of his appendix (appendectomy), which also required an incisional dressing change.”

“Through my role as a standardized patient, I realized that there is much more to patient care than just attending to their medical needs,” Dr. McLeod observes. “Because patients are human beings first, their reaction to being in a healthcare facility can amplify their medical condition. It may be a frightening or overwhelming experience, and the attention and care that nurses provide can make all the difference.

“To be able to offer our students these types of experiences resonates with me personally because all of us will need healthcare at some point in our lives, and any of these students could be caring for us or our family members,” he adds. “We want our students to be the best healthcare providers they can be.”