March 23, 2015
Every month in our UCCI newsletter, we feature one of the extraordinary educators we have worked with at the UCCI Institutes and in the UCCI Teacher Exchange. We started this feature so that we could have a way of publicly showcasing how creative, innovative, and smart California teachers are. We archive every issue of the Teacher Spotlight here, on the UCCI website, at our Teacher Spotlight page.This month the spotlight is on Carla Crow, Program Director/Instructor for Nursing Programs, Moreno Valley Regional Learning Center.
We recently spoke with Carla about her experiences in the healthcare industry, what changes she's seen and experienced and how she feels about the current HSMT curriculum:UCCI recently partnered with the California Agricultural Teachers Association (CATA) to conduct a UCCI Institute focused on developing three Agriscience courses that would meet the lab science (“d”) subject requirement for UC/CSU freshman admission (and yes, those are the agriculture courses mentioned above). We were thrilled to work with Dane, Matt and JessaLee in the planning and execution of this Institute, all of whom are phenomenal teachers and expert leaders.
What first drew you to Healthcare?
Healthcare was a big draw for me because I come from a family of healthcare workers. My mother was a Registered Nurse and a Licensed Vocational Nurse with over 45 years of experience in the health industry. When I was a little girl, my mom would get ready for work in her nice, clean, crisp uniform with her nurses cap. She wore that cap and uniform with pride. I wanted to be like her and also wear that white uniform and cap with dignity and pride. I also had a passion to help people, which lea me to make the decision to become a Registered Nurse, and it was the best decision I could have made! As a nursing student, I wanted to save the world and over 25 years later, I still feel the same, but I’m accomplishing that task differently now. I am happy to be in a position to be able to teach others the art of being compassionate, having empathy and making a difference in the lives of others. One of my mottos is: “If I were close my eyes today and not awake, I'll know that I have touched at least one life.”
What major changes have you seen in the industry since you started working in it?
There have been many changes in the profession of healthcare. One of the biggest changes is economic: Insurance rates have increased and patients cannot afford healthcare - even though patients are receiving a plethora of healthcare options under the Affordable Care Act, some patients cannot afford their co-pay or medication, so they’d rather wait until they are very ill before going to the doctor, and then they end up going to the emergency department, even though they may not have the funds to pay for the visit. When something like this occurs, the hospital eats the visit and it trickles down to the tax payer, and the insurance company, and ultimately, patients end much sicker than if they had sought care sooner.
Another major change that has occurred in the healthcare industry is that patients are sent home earlier than ever before, and often before they are stable enough to go home. Most hospital visits have gone from 2-3 days to 12-24 hours, depending on the procedure involved.
Do you feel that Health Science and Medical Technology curriculum is keeping
pace with the industry changes?
Yes, I do. In dealing with patients, clients or customers, soft skills are a must. The current HSMT curriculum teaches emphasizes those soft skills, such as communication and the ability to build interpersonal relationships. These skills combined with up-to-date healthcare knowledge make our students more marketable, and ready for both college and career.
What first drew you to UCCI and integrated curriculum?
To be honest, my Coordinating Principal is to blame (kidding)! She suggested that I fill out the application for the UCCI Institute, and the rest is history. I have attended three UCCI institutes, twice as a participant (Carla was on the team that developed Native Speaker Spanish Year 3 for Health Careers) and once as a facilitator, and being involved in both roles has opened my eyes to many opportunities: The opportunity to meet new people and collaborate with them was phenomenal. To bring together teachers who are specialized in their topics, and start with a blank canvas and then end up with a product that is a beautiful, integrated masterpiece is beyond words. At times, the teachers had to tear down the wall, tighten the gap and build a bridge that we all could cross together in harmony so that we could create the best product for our students. This was our focus at the end of the day, to create a course that students could take and not only receive credits for college, but be better prepared for both college and career.
How long have you been teaching, and how did you decide to become a teacher?
I have been teaching in the academic sector for the last 12 years. Teaching has always been part of my profession as a nurse. Teaching students is just on a larger scale as opposed to teaching the patient. I thrive on making a difference in each of the students’ lives. It starts in the heart and transfers to the students I teach and the patients I care for.
What are some of your favorite resources for HSMT educators, and why?
Some of the resources that I recommend for instructors to utilize would be: MedlinePlus, a web resource from the National Institute for Health, which has some interesting videos and health topics; and Kidshealth.org, which is a great resource and can be used to simplify topics for students.