Programs for enrolled students
One of our more innovative programs at Wake Forest is the new student orientation program, called Surviving the Bubble. This program was developed by Jennifer Ferguson (class of 2008) based on her own extensive experience with team-building activities as a long-time camp nurse. Recognizing that students feel isolation analogous to being encapsulated in a “bubble”, Ferguson custom-developed this program to introduce students to the concepts of teamwork, interpersonal communication, problem-solving, goal-setting, and time-management as they relate to navigating a nurse anesthesia program.
The program is currently held at Bailey Park in the Innovation Quarter of Downtown Winston-Salem. During the one-day program, new students participate in various physical activities as well as group discussions.
Students learn to accomplish precision tasks which require absolute efficient teamwork for success.
What some participants said about “Surviving the Bubble”:
“It was a wonderful day that exceeded my expectations. I enjoyed it.”
“Very real. Fun, too. Great balance. Eight hours of activity that will mean a lot in the next two years. Strongly recommend this!”
“Discussing real life situations gave us guidance and some reassurance as well.”
“Today was great! Thanks so much! I really feel that our class bonded together as a team and as a new “family”. The exercises built trust and confidence in each other.”
“I enjoyed learning to work together as a team with strangers (who are no longer strangers after today!)”
In other social orientation programs, efforts are made to provide students with helpful resources prior to large transitions. Starting in the spring before the program starts, students are invited to join a discussion board and to utilize a chat room to get to know their new classmates. In the 5 months prior to the start of the program last year, students posted 160 messages as they made connections with their prospective classmates.
Prior to starting clinical, students are paired with both a senior student adviser as well as a faculty mentor. These resource people provide a “friendly face” in the OR, and someone the student can go to with questions, problems, etc. without the apprehension sometimes associated with bringing every concern to their instructors.
These orientation programs support our vision of Creating Excellence in Nurse Anesthesia: to produce practitioners who possess an awareness of their role and who are comfortable taking a leadership position in the health care system. Development of the Surviving the Bubble program was also completed in fulfillment of Jennifer Ferguson’s Service Learning requirement: an opportunity for students to expand their leadership and management abilities beyond the typical realm of clinical anesthesia.