SPOKANE, Wash. — While the nation, state and region continue to see a
deepening shortage of nurses, record student enrollment in summer courses at
the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education/Washington State University
College of Nursing shows a different picture. It indicates the next generation of
nursing professionals is diligently preparing to enter an increasingly broader
field of nursing practice and opportunity.

The five summer school course offerings, with enrollment of 68 undergraduate
and graduate students, are the largest offering and enrollment since beginning
the summer courses a decade ago. This year marks the first summer school
course at the Yakima nursing site, where 17 undergraduate students enrolled in
a therapeutic touch course.

The courses, which continue through June 30, include Therapeutic Touch: A
Nursing Modality of Caring and Healing; Dysrhythmias/Advanced Cardiac
Life Support; Plateau Tribes: Culture and Health, Critical Care Nursing; and
Advanced Health Assessment and Differential Diagnosis. Each course fulfills
elective credits for undergraduates and/or course credit for graduate students.

The unique course offerings address the changing face of today’s nursing
education, student interests and the diversified focus of a professional nursing
career.

“Students want courses that include a clinical component,” said Anne Hirsch,
ICNE/WSU College of Nursing associate dean for academic affairs. “They
want to spend their time in hands-on, clinic-setting experiences.”

The Plateau Tribe course involves 12 graduate and undergraduate students
and employs some unique approaches to learning. It focuses on the history,
culture and health care of the people of the nine Plateau Tribes: Coeur d’Alene,
Colville, Kalispell, Kootenai, Nez Perce, Spokane, Umatilla, Warm Springs and
Yakama.

“This course, taught both in the classroom and at the tribal sites, is designed
to bridge cultural gaps that exist with traditional health care approaches,” said
Ruth Bindler, ICNE/WSU College of Nursing associate professor and one of
the course instructors. “Each week, we’ll examine and discuss issues through a
tribal scope. Speakers from the professional field, as well as Plateau Indian
Tribes members, will address topics such as child and family programs, cancer
education and ethical and legal issues with a clear link back to the core needs
of these tribes.”

The course will conclude with experiences at the various tribal reservations
throughout the state. The Native Americans, Bindler said, tend to have a
higher percentage of respiratory diseases, linked to smoking, and diabetes is
notably higher in the Plateau Tribes, where many lack a basic understanding of
good health practices. Bindler says the students will provide preventative and
treatment information for tribal clients as needed.

Celebrating 30 years of nursing education and excellence, the ICNE/WSU
College of Nursing is a progressive leader in the field of nursing education,
service and research. The college offers baccalaureate, graduate and
professional development course work to nursing students enrolled through
its four consortium partners: Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga
University, Washington State University and Whitworth College. For more
information, visit the Web site at www.icne.wsu.edu.

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