Clinical rotations Continue Through COVID


Plano West Clinicals students pose beside one of their learning tools–a properly masked model skeleton.

Gabby Pippins, Writer

Several academic classes and extracurricular activities are being altered due to COVID-19, and those alterations are having a major impact on classes that rely on human interactions. For junior Eliana LaRosa, her Clinical class is one that has become challenging to take due to the virus. She is really involved in the class and knows all there is to know about it.

“Clinical Rotation is a class to help prospective health care students get a health care experience by rotating to different sites,” LaRosa said. “For example, we not only rotate at hospitals, but we rotate to dentistry/orthodontics offices, physical therapy/rehab, surgery centers, pharmacies, vet offices, nursing homes, etc.”

The students learn almost everything from their rotations, from general knowledge to specifics.

“We learn a variety of nurse aide skills like how to move a resident/patient, ambulating (walking), how to dress a resident/patient, how to take height/weight, etc,” LaRosa said. “Some sites also teach us site-specific skills, like at the pharmacy we will learn how to assist with customers, sort and distribute prescriptions, etc.”

Although this class is a perfect way for students to discover the health field, some rotation sites are currently going unseen this year due to COVID-19.

“Because of COVID, we are only going to secondary sites, and about 75% are welcoming students back,” LaRosa said. “Those sites include pharmacies, the Outdoor Learning Center, physical therapy, orthopedics, daycare, and optometry.”

Even with the decrease in major rotation sites, students are still getting a satisfactory learning experience.

“Our learning is still effective,” LaRosa said. “We have a textbook and procedural guidelines packet to teach us the necessary skills. Then, 1-2 days a week I come up to West for in-class practice with those skills on each other and mannequins.”

This first nine weeks with an altered learning experience had its roadblocks, but the main thing is that the Clinical rotation students of Plano West are still learning to the best of their abilities.

“It is a different learning environment than usual for sure, but if you put in the effort, you are still learning and covering everything you would in a normal school year,” LaRosa said. “Hopefully by spring we will be able to rotate at hospitals and nursing homes again if the COVID cases go down.”