Riverside City College Nursing, other programs to resume instruction soon

By Rossana Martinez

As Riverside City College moves online due to coronavirus, the Nursing Program is especially feeling these changes. Tensions are running high as students worry about the impacts on their semester.

“COVID-19 has affected the program as a whole,” said Eddy Pantoja, a fourth semester nursing student. “We cannot complete our patient care hours according to the (Board of Registered Nurses.) The worst news is the final semester students are unable to fulfill their hours so their semester may be extended.”

Education and health care systems are under an immense upsurge of pressure in dealing with this pandemic and the multitude of changes it has brought. RCC is exploring all routes to minimize the negative effects of the pandemic on students and to provide accessible practices and labs.

“We submitted a special application to the public health officer to consider our students in the Nursing (Program), the emergency medical technicians, the paramedics and the firefighters as essential personnel in this period of pandemic,”said Wolde-Ab  Isaac, chancellor of the Riverside Community College District. “Therefore their training should also be considered as essential infrastructure to help us get them up already. We asked for a waiver for an exemption from the closure so they can go back to do their clinical education. That request was granted.”

Dr. Isaac also mentioned that some allied health courses, like dental assisting and dental hygiene, are difficult to put on virtual platforms but that the district is trying to figure out how to help those students finish the year.

RCC’s deans of nursing, EMTS, paramedics, firefighters and trainers from Ben Clark Training Center are linking up with their clinical partners to get the program up and running.

As the program makes its way online, Pantoja feels well prepared for these new modifications.

“We have also adjusted to the online program,” Pantoja said. “I personally like the online experience because I can get up in the morning and just pop onto my computer.”     

Although the Nursing Department is closed, they said they will stand by their students and provide the resources needed to carry out the remainder of the semester.

A Riverside City College nursing student tends to a patient at the Riverside Free Health Clinic on March 11. (Angel Peña | Viewpoints)