Students in the East Central College Nursing and EMT/Paramedic programs will have access to state-of-the-art technology later this fall, thanks to a $180,704 grant award from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Business Development grant program.
The grant dollars will cover the expenses to purchase new manikins, equipment, and software for the lab, which is utilized by Nursing and Emergency Medical Technician students to prepare them for the healthcare workforce.
“Technology is advancing quickly, and we want to be sure we have the most up-to-date simulation equipment in our labs to prepare our students in the patients care setting,” said Nancy Mitchell, Dean of Health Sciences. “The eight manikins simulate real-life responses to the student’s medical intervention by displaying symptoms and reactions to a health care students care.”
The USDA Rural Business Development Grant Program is a competitive grant designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas.
“This grant better positions the college to expand our existing programs and create innovative solutions to address the regional skills gap,” said Joel Doepker, Vice President of External Relations, “We appreciate the USDA’s program that recognizes East Central College as a good investment.”
The College was awarded the grant based on evidence showing job creation at local businesses, economic need in the area to be served and consistency with local economic development priorities. During the grant application process, ECC received several letters of support for the project from local health care systems.
During a time when clinical space can be a challenge for Nursing students during the COVID-19 pandemic, the simulation lab provides the ability to educate and train students.
“Our clinical partners at the health care systems in our region provide excellent learning experiences for our students. A high-fidelity simulation lab provides the students real-life scenarios in a safe place to hone their skills and potentially make mistakes without harm to an actual patient. Simulation proves to be an excellent learning strategy to help prepare our students to enter the workforce,” Mitchell said.
Purchase of the equipment is expected to take place in September with expectations of having it installed later in the 2020 fall semester.