Generous Gift Injects Hands-On Training for Nursing Students

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When Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) students descended upon campus for their On Campus Intensive (OCI) this December, they used an elbow model for the first time, thanks to a generous gift from USC alumnus Jacque J. Sokolov, M.D.

In the past, students in the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work learned about diagnosing complaints of elbow pain and inflammation from a text book. Now, they are able to manipulate a reproduction of an actual elbow, and practice administering injections on it. Sokolov says these types of patient care simulators are critical for adding a three-dimensional perspective for the students.

“Having the elbow model was extremely helpful,” said Evelyn Miranda, MSN student. “I was able to identify anatomical landmarks and to apply theory into practice.”

Nursing is close to his heart

Sokolov is chairman and chief executive officer of SSB Solutions, Inc., a U.S. based and diversified healthcare management, development and financial services company. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Medicine and his Doctor of Medicine from the Keck School of Medicine at USC.

“The nursing school has always been close to my heart,” said Sokolov, whose mother, Frances, graduated from the nursing school at USC in 1948. At that time, nursing education was in and out of the USC system. Now it is part of the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.

“There are not enough healthcare professionals of any type―doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists,” Sokolov said. “Bringing an integrated care team approach is absolutely critical going forward and I think integration in the schools is going to be absolutely imperative.”

FNP students are required to complete two OCIs during the MSN degree program, where they are tested by faculty on their classroom education with skill assessment exercises and exams. It is a rigorous, hands-on training weekend. Given that the nursing program is online, this is also an opportunity for the students to meet fellow classmates and faculty in person, after having studied online as a group.

“Kinesthetic, or hands-on learning makes a difference in terms of experience,” says Tracie Kirkland, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Nursing  and one of the faculty instructors for the OCI. “Utilizing this joint model, they can find landmarks, and learn how to inject an elbow appropriately and aspirate fluid.”

“What I really liked about it is that the elbow model provided instantaneous feedback if our needle was in the proper location,” said Rupert Ramirez, MSN student.

Kirkland says she is so grateful to the friends and alumni giving back to the school because it helps prepare the next generation of nurse practitioners. “Without this generosity, without gifting, we’re unable to maximize the potential in instructing our students,” she said.

A timely relationship

The Department of Nursing values the OCI experience immensely because it is an opportunity to welcome students in person to the Trojan Family, and specifically into the school of social work at USC.

“It is an especially timely relationship because we are spending a great deal of time in healthcare studying social determinants of health,” Sokolov said. “This integration allows for that crossover to occur in the new integrated approach to healthcare.”

Sokolov’s gift enabled this inaugural group of students to add their knowledge of joint injections to their clinical skill set.

“Now the students can say confidently, ‘I’ve been exposed, I’ve trained and I can bring added value because I know the correct procedural process,’” Kirkland said.

Miranda explained that many of the students felt comfortable and at ease knowing they could practice essential skills prior to going to their clinical rotations. “Please thank the alum who donated this model,” said Miranda. “From my class and from future classes to come.”

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