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Q&A: Rebecca McGill joins Henrietta Schmoll School of Health

Rebecca McGill, RN, MAOL, Director of Clinical Education and Clinical Practice.
Rebecca McGill, RN, MAOL, Director of Clinical Education and Clinical Practice.
Photo by Melissa Kaelin

Rebecca McGill, RN, MAOL '94, joined St. Catherine University on March 1, 2011, as Director of Clinical Education and Clinical Practice for the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health.

 According to Dean Penelope Moyers, the new position has two foci. In her first major role, McGill will direct a focused approach to clinical education with the University’s healthcare and agency partners, in order to begin crafting the ways in which clinical education needs to change in response to healthcare reform and the creation of new healthcare delivery models. In her second major role, McGill will help faculty to develop inter-professional practices where students can be involved in dynamic teams to bring service to the community.

Q. What interested you in the position of Director of Clinical Education and Clinical Practice at the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health?

A. As an alumna, I have strong ties to St. Kate’s, receiving my RN and later my MAOL from the University. When I saw the position posted in the newspaper and on the website, I contacted Alice Swan, the leader of the search committee, and requested an informational interview. After learning the position is one of broad influence for clinical education across the School of Heath, I continued with the process. The rest is history! 

Q. Can you tell us a little about your background and how that led you to higher education?

A. My background consists of clinical practice in a variety of settings starting as a staff nurse in the Emergency Department as a new grad. I have experience in clinical leadership positions, as a nurse manager and director, and most recently as a performance improvement director.  I have many health care contacts, locally, regionally and nationally.

I always thought I would gravitate to higher education at some point in my career. I have served as adjunct faculty for Bethel, Metro State and Augsburg, precepting students in their Nursing Leadership practicum.

I am currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education and Leadership at the University of St. Thomas.

Q. What does the School of Health hope to by adding the Director of Clinical Education and Clinical Practice position?

A. There are currently 19-20 programs of study in our School of Health — and many are new in the last two to three years. The current structure provides a program director and clinical coordinator roles in each program. Yet, the school was lacking a person who would advocate for all of our programs and think in a broad systems way across the School of Health.

I believe the role is here to support all the programs with efficiency and streamlined processes, to assure continuous clinical placements sites for our students.

Q. What sort of challenges does the School of Health face in the light of recent healthcare reform?

A. The proposed healthcare reform changes will result in an increase in primary care. Many more people will have healthcare coverage and thus be seeking care. New care models are emerging with an emphasis on Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants.

The Henrietta Schmoll School of Health needs to be able to increase enrollment in some programs and continue to produce well-prepared grads. Demand is expected to increase by 20 to 40 percent in the next five to eight years for Registered Nurses, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Respiratory Care, Social Work and Physician Assistant roles.

The School of Health has the opportunity to be a national leader in the preparation of healthcare providers and leaders, as we educate so many different professionals.

Q. What are a few of the ways St. Kate’s works with area clinics or clinical professionals?

A. Like the student teaching model, in the healthcare professions, students spend significant time in applied practice within the healthcare system. This is where area clinics, hospitals and other agencies come in.

We rely on local and regional providers to open their arms in assisting with the education of the workforce of tomorrow. They agree to provide a clinical placement site for individuals or groups of students. The benefits to the site are in helping them meet their future workforce needs, and in their affiliation with the university and the opportunity for professional and leadership development for clinical staff as they teach and mentor students.

Another way we work with the sites is through continuing education. This is something the sites value greatly.

Q. This position was formed in part to enhance the University’s relationships with clinics and clinical professionals. How will your work improve these relationships? What will the changes look like?

A. One outcome will be having more sites for our students, locally, regional as well as nationally and internationally. In the future, we will have partners who always take our students. The question is not if they will take a student, but how many and on what units? This will save time and energy for our clinical coordinators.

Another goal is to provide streamlined, user–friendly processes of securing placements, from getting the contract to the ease of evaluation of the students and the experience.

A third goal is to provide forums and technology solutions to allow the programs to leverage and share best practices. Before the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health, the programs were not aggregated under one umbrella. So it is natural that each program has its own processes, for example, for orientation of preceptors, materials they provide, and benefits they provide to the site. There are so many exciting and leading edge things going on, we must do more learning from each other about what works best!

Q. What have been some of the first tasks you have taken on in your new role?

A. My first tasks included asking a lot of questions and listening. I have been compiling some data for future use, highlighting program best practices and strengths, challenges, and benefits to the clinical sites.

I have also been drawn into meetings and I am becoming acquainted with our key Educational Partners. I am gathering information about how we are marketing the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health to our partners.

Lastly, I am thankful for the warm welcome I received and the opportunity to be part of such a mission-driven organization. I am grateful for the ongoing mentoring and for everyone who has assisted me in my orientation.

May 9, 2011 by Melissa Kaelin

See also: Faculty, Healthcare