What can we expect during upcoming classes, the future of the healthcare industry and more!
As the spring semester gets underway this week at MCG Career College, we are in the midst of a transition period in our communities as stores, restaurants and shops begin to reopen around the province. While many people are anxious to get back to normal, the realities of a global pandemic are staring us in the face. Doors may be open but physical distancing measures remain in place and will be for the foreseeable future.
MCG and other post-secondary institutions are still operating in a virtual space; however, that may change over the coming months.
There are a lot of questions floating around, so we sat down with the Dean of MCG Career College, Carmen Sheridan, to get some insight and perspective about what’s happening on campus.
We’re almost three months into the global pandemic and a lot has changed in the world. How have things changed at MCG?
We’ve absolutely had to pivot, but we were well prepared to make the adjustments and we are using technology to support our students on a daily basis. This isn’t a normal experience, but for the MCG students, we’ve given them as seamless of an experience as possible. We are conducting virtual lectures, providing video instructions and encouraging students to practice their skills in a safe way with someone in their family or household. This might include taking someone’s temperature or trying shoulder massage techniques.
With health education, hands-on, practical and laboratory experience is crucial to ensuring patient safety. Providing our future health care workers with an education without the practical component is a challenge and the students will still need to complete several face-to-face assessments when it’s safe to do so.
We know many companies have struggled to adjust programming and work environments for the virtual world but we’ve been able to pivot in the best way possible.
That’s what MCG is all about. We are here for flexible learning. That was the case before COVID and we remain true to that today.
Will these students graduate without the face-to-face training?
No. When you are training health care workers, one of the top priorities is ensuring the graduates are safe before they go into industry. While they are using video instruction and virtual learning environments right now, once it’s safe to engage in a face-to-face environment, those students will have to come in and fulfill all of the competencies and assessments that are required for them to complete their program.
There are many people potentially facing “down-time??? with reduced hours at work or no work at all. Is this a good time to go back to school?
This is a good time to be educated in healthcare. During this pandemic, we have seen firsthand that one of the few industries that hasn’t been shut down is healthcare. This industry comes with a certain level of stability — as long as there are people, there will be healthcare.
However, it doesn’t come without risk and we have to acknowledge that. You’re going to put yourself at a higher risk, but you will be working and directly supporting our community through difficult times. There is a lot of fulfilment in that.
What does MCG have planned for the Fall semester?
We are pleased to be offering an expansion to our Medical Office Assistant and Unit Clerk program. In addition to our daytime program, we will also be offering it as an evening/weekend program that is designed to be even more flexible for those who are working. Students can work in the day and then participate in classes during evenings and weekends.
We are also working on new ways to support our MCG alumni. Building opportunities and increasing access to education is a top priority for us. Starting in the fall, there will be preference given to alumni through the admissions process. This will provide even more opportunities for our alumni to take steps to further their education at our college.
Can we expect more programs to be added at the college?
Yes! We have been working extremely hard during the pandemic to build other programs. There is one program in development that will change the landscape for MCG as we strive to provide a different classification of healthcare workers. We will come out of this stronger than before and provide students with more and more access to different programming. Stay tuned!
We know there are still a lot of unknowns in terms of requirements and guidelines for when face-to-face classes are allowed to resume again, but can you give us an indication of what safety standards will be in place at MCG when students are back in class?
As a health college, let me assure you, we understand the importance of cleaning and sanitization. Our already rigorous standards have been elevated even further. We are well-stocked with hospital grade sanitizer and have an established cleaning program between visitors.
We keep our class sizes small at MCG to provide a focused learning environment. With those small groups, it makes it extremely easy to exercise physical distancing. Classroom tables have been spaced generously around the rooms and students will be able to feel safe and comfortable at campus.