Nursing students are still adjusting

By Justine Ackerman

Nursing is now a part of Ashland University’s curriculum and the merger between MedCentral and Ashland University has major benefits. While this is a good thing, some benefits will take longer to be realized than others and there are still some issues being worked through.

“The problem is it’s hard to describe,” senior nursing student Nick Hartley said.

According to other nursing students, it’s not that there is one specific thing wrong or that the merge was a bad thing. It’s simply the difficulty of adjustment.

“This has been a hectic year and a learning experience for everyone,” senior nursing student Jaclyn Sudol said. “When faced with new opportunities you also face an increased amount of change. I feel that students have been dealing with the changes quite well and we are all adapting to a new way of thinking.”

Some of the problems the College of Nursing (CON) students are facing have to do with their routines being entirely altered.

“Right now there is a lot of confusion,” Hartley said. “Details need to be straightened out.”

Hartley explained that standards have changed for the students regarding test scores versus class grades. A student used to need a passing percentage in a class and a certain percentage on the ATI test [Assessment Technology Institute] and then they passed and could move on. Now students are unclear about whether that policy is in place or has changed.

“It’s just confusing,” Hartley said.

The CON also used to be on quarters and is now being switched to semesters. While this isn’t affecting Hartley’s schedule or credits earned, it could possibly affect others.

“Not much has changed for me,” Hartley said. “I’m lucky in that way. I know for other people next year it will be completely different.”

Sudol says that there are other problems, as well.

“The hardest adaptation for many students is understanding the new chain of command and who to address first and foremost with an issue,” Sudol said. “Prior to our acquisition, it seemed like everyone we needed was available at any time to speak with day-to-day. An adjustment that has needed to be made is finding out who to speak with first and progressing through the chain of command to resolve an issue or make a change.”

Another worry with the schedule changes is how long it could take for freshmen to start experiencing nursing. While nothing has been made official yet, there are rumors that many of the nursing classes will be held off until a students’ junior year. Hartley got his first taste of nursing the third quarter of his freshman year.

“For me, it’s always been intertwined,” Hartley said. “I get the sense that it won’t be beneficial to hold nursing classes off. Nursing is so much critical thinking.”

When a patient is dying, the answer of what to do is critical, so Hartley and others have suggested that freshmen and sophomores be required to take some critical thinking courses

if they don’t start nursing until their junior years.

The students know that eventually everything will work out and believe that in the end, this merger is a good thing.

“Next year, students will face even more change with the new academic building, but it will be great for future nurses that come to Ashland University,” Sudol said.

Hartley likes the feel of AU’s campus community.

“There is a big college feel [at AU],” Hartley said. “Everyone is with everyone else on campus.”

Hartley enjoyed the sports dance that AU recently held and has also participated in intramurals.

“You guys’ facilities are great,” Hartley remarked.

While Hartley and Sudol will be graduating this year, they both expect things to eventually work out for the best.

“From both sides, the merger needs time,” Hartley said. “I know that it’s a process. It won’t be easy right away.”

Sudol has confidence that things will work out, especially since she has felt that so many people have been willing and eager to help her with her questions.

“Sue Heimann has been very reliable and available to help students address many issues that they have had, both major and minor,” Sudol said. “Kelly Kossick [academic advisor for the Dwight Schar CON] was with us prior to the transition and she has been a great resource in finding out answers and relaying important information to students. Each department within Ashland University has been eager and open to helping the students adapt to the changes.”

Hartley agrees.

“Kelly Kossick…is the catch-all, know-all,” Hartley said.

With communication, patience and time, AU and the CON could eventually be a happy and comfortable part of the same family.