LAU repositioning nursing
LAU’s School of Nursing innovative curriculum offers unique edge to students and employers at top hospitals around the city.
As Dean Nancy Hoffart wished her students well at this year’s graduation of the Alice Ramez Chagoury School of Nursing (ARCSON), she said she would be hearing about their professional accomplishments and with good reason. All of 2013 LAU Nursing graduates were hired immediately and the same is true for this year’s too.
Although the B.S. in Nursing at LAU is only witnessing its second promotion, graduates are already establishing a reputation for excellence at top hospitals across Lebanon. Last year’s graduates were immediately picked up by Bellevue Medical Center (BMC), Clemenceau Hospital, LAU Medical Center–Rizk Hospital and an NGO. This year, they are even more in demand, from those hospitals, as well as the American University Hospital.
“I would be very happy if I could hire all my new nurses from LAU,” says Rana Abdel Malak, director of nursing at Bellevue hospital. “We are really very impressed with them. They adapt easily, and are flexible and eager to learn. In their mind, it’s a learning opportunity so they come ready.”
ARCSON’s fast growing reputation stems from its highly innovative concept-based curriculum. It is a combination of co-operative education experiences, inter-professional education and the clinical simulation center. “We are the only school in Lebanon that does a concept-based curriculum. In the U.S., it’s taking off in a big way “ says Dr. Hoffart. With American nursing as a model, the overall program is based on research, knowledge and practice.
In fact, the co-operative component of the program pairs off student nurses with professional ones, in every sense of the word. “Our students learn what it means to work seven twelve-hour shifts in two weeks, to work on weekends and holidays, just like other employees in the hospital. They don’t only get experience using their knowledge, skills and compassion, but they also learn what it’s like to be a member of a healthcare team,” explains Hoffart.
Last year, ARCSON’s clinical program took place at BMC. The experience proving successful to both parties, the hospital decided to renew the affiliation and to host the co-operative component of the program again. Abdel Malak had the opportunity to observe the students first hand, both as a trainer and an employer. “The co-op idea is very innovative, we don’t see this approach in other universities. It is designed to let the student live the life of a nurse before graduating.” As a result, “LAU’s students automatically integrate with our patient care plans and do everything according to accreditation standards,” she adds.
New graduate Razmig Saghbazarian feels more than ready to get into a professional career. “We learn and practice throughout the curriculum, so as we step out, we are already – technically and emotionally – prepared to give the best care to our patients.”
For Abdel Malak this is key, “Graduates we employed told us they didn’t feel like it was something new to them and this is very important. LAU is re-positioning nursing this way,” she concludes.