Partnership with Mitchell Community College Brings Clinical Rotations to Davie Medical Center

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 27, 2019

Chaplain Adam Ridenhour pours water over the hands of nursing student Ada Swierczewski in a blessing of the hands ceremony inside Davie Medical Center’s chapel.

Barbara Turner, M.S.N., says she can’t think of any job she would rather do than working as a nurse. Unless, perhaps, it’s teaching others how to become nurses.

Turner, a staff nurse at Wake Forest Baptist Health — Davie Medical Center, spent 16 weeks earlier this year working with seven students in the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program at Mitchell Community College in Statesville.

From January through May, the students went through clinical rotations at Davie Medical Center. It was the first time the facility has hosted a clinical training program, and it demonstrated that training future medical professionals can extend throughout the Wake Forest Baptist Health system.

Kim Stanbery, D.N.P., R.N., Davie Medical Center’s chief nursing officer, said that since the hospital’s inpatient unit opened in April 2017, patient volume has expanded enough to support clinical rotations. She said an aging workforce of nurses who are readying for retirement and a lack of academic nurse faculty positions is contributing to a nursing shortage at a number of hospitals in the region. That makes clinical rotation sites even more valuable.

“There is great personal satisfaction when we can lead the way for those entering the profession,” Stanbery said.

Turner works with Davie Medical Center’s Acute Care for Elders (ACE) unit, which she said is well-suited for nursing clinical rotations. ACE patients generally remain in the unit for care, rather than leaving for surgeries or procedures, allowing students to spend more time developing vital patient assessment skills.

“I tell the students that if they can assess a patient thoroughly, if something goes wrong, they will know it,” Turner said. “They might not know exactly what’s wrong, but they will know that something is not right. Their assessment skills are valuable.”

The ACE unit proved a good fit for nursing student Ada Swierczewski. The Statesville native was inspired to pursue nursing after helping to care for her disabled grandfather.

“I like taking care of patients,” she said, “and I can see my grandpa in every single one of them.”

Swierczewski described a supportive learning environment at Davie.

“It was really stressful, with a lot of activity and paperwork, but the environment at Davie is very warm,” she said. “The nurses were super motivated and interested in us, and they were willing to share information and show us certain techniques and procedures. Davie did that in a way that was outstanding.”

As the rotations neared an end in May, Davie Medical Center’s nursing leaders and Chaplain Adam Ridenhour organized a Blessing of the Hands ceremony for the students.

“We talked about how this would be something that they’re going to experience throughout their nursing careers, and it’s a way of bringing them into the fold of nursing,” Ridenhour said of the interfaith service that is closely associated with nursing. “Their hands are vital to our patient care, and we wanted to celebrate what their hands are doing and what they will be doing as they enter the profession.

“It was a nice way to symbolize the growth the students have had while they’ve been with us and the service they are dedicating their lives to.”

According to Stanbery, the partnership with Mitchell Community College is only the beginning. The first cohort of nursing students from Forsyth Technical Community College just started rotations at Davie Medical Center.

“We have a booming surgical services department, thanks to the growth of our joint replacement and spine programs,” Stanbery said. “I believe we have a wonderful opportunity for students to appreciate the full continuum of surgical care.”