At the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS), our “student-first” culture means that we put the education, health, and well-being of our students first. This core value has never been more important to us than during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We recognize that you are facing important decisions amidst the uncertainty that the pandemic has brought to education—and we know you are eager for our Fall semester plans. Our Fall approach has been developed by academic leadership, faculty leaders, and local public health officials, with input from national experts.
The USAHS Student Experience
Most classes will be conducted virtually. We will continue to leverage our high-quality, faculty-led virtual lab demonstrations. Our faculty are enhancing their instruction plans to include advanced learning technologies and innovative activities that foster an ever-more engaging virtual learning environment.
Some courses will offer interactive virtual simulations to reinforce your clinical skills, while expanding your telehealth proficiencies and preparing you for the future of healthcare in a changing world. You may interact with trained patient actors in faculty-developed simulations of authentic telehealth experiences. Following each scenario, you will debrief the experiences with peers and revisit videos to review and reflect. Read more about how our faculty have creatively adapted their clinical courses to an enriching online environment.
Labs/residencies will feature a combination of virtual and on-campus skills instruction and assessment. At-home lab sessions are being designed by faculty teams, with support from instructional and media designers, to maximize active learning and participation. Depending on the lab experiences specific to your term and course, your instructors may provide lab/residency materials to enhance your at-home learning. USAHS’s well-established online and blended learning methodologies have uniquely prepared us to deliver an enhanced online lab experience.
On-campus lab/residency sessions for first term students will not be scheduled before October 5, while students in later terms may begin their on-campus lab/residency sessions earlier, after September 21. Our physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and nursing programs will have on-campus lab experiences at specific points during the Fall term.
We plan to announce the complete schedules for our Fall on-campus lab sessions and residencies by August 28. Our Fall schedules will prioritize the campus-based hands-on time that students need to achieve competencies in critical clinical skills that they cannot achieve virtually. We will also prioritize on-campus time for students who need to prepare for immediate clinical internships.
Practicing the use of telehealth technologies will be an advantage as you prepare to treat patients in a world where telehealth is rapidly expanding. USAHS alumni have told us they felt well-prepared for the recent changes in patient care thanks to the blended format of our curricula. Alumna Dr. Cassie Laughrey Petre attributes her ability to treat patients successfully via telehealth to her Flex DPT program, which gave her confidence using various teleconferencing apps. “While [telehealth] can be challenging at times, I welcome the challenge,” she says. “It makes you think on your feet, tapping into your innovation and creativity as a therapist, working with what you’ve got.”
We can’t wait to help you develop into a stellar healthcare practitioner who positively impacts the communities you serve. Our mission is to provide the highest-quality learning experience while keeping the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff top of mind. Together, we will face the challenges of the pandemic so you can help people live better lives. We look forward to welcoming you into the USAHS family this fall!