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Grant to aid JDCC nursing

Nursing students at Jefferson Davis Community College will be able to take advantage of cutting edge technology soon thanks to a grant the college received this week.

JDCC President Dr. Susan McBride said the $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, presents a wonderful opportunity for equipment purchases.

“This is the largest grant of this kind that we have ever received,” McBride said Tuesday. “It’s very exciting. This grant award will allow us to finish a project we had already committed to do. This award shows HRSA knew we were committed to this project and we had put our money where our mouth is, and it showed.”

The grant was awarded as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is part of a project to provide equipment to enhance training for health professionals. The funds will be used to purchase simulation and audiovisual equipment to train students who are pursing an associate degree in nursing at JDCC. The equipment will include infant, maternal birthing and neonatal, and cardiopulmonary patient simulators; Haptics device virtual IV and Haptics device infant virtual IV packages; and simulation lab control room and debriefing area audio visual recording equipment.

The equipment will also be available for use by the health science classes at Escambia County High School. Suzanne Helton, instructor at ECHS, joined McBride in the simulation lab Tuesday and said the opportunity to add educational equipment to the lab at the high school is one she is excited about.

“I’m really looking forward to the addition of a simulator in the lab,” Helton said. “This will give our students an opportunity to be better prepared when they come to JD.”

JD Nursing Director Susan Mack is excited about the addition of the simulators and sees it as a great opportunity for the students and the healthcare industry.

“This is a win-win situation for everyone,” McBride said. “The simulators purchased with these grant funds are going to make a difference in the way students learn healthcare. That will certainly make a difference in how students enter the healthcare industry.”

Dr. Beth Billy, director of student support services, wrote the grant and said the purchase of the equipment with grant funds should be complete within the next few months.

“The equipment will begin coming in and being put into place fairly quickly,” Billy said. “The simulators will be integrated into the program at least by the spring semester here. At ECHS, that may go a little more quickly since the equipment purchase for that location will not be as large.”

McBride said the new equipment will give a more hands-on, realistic slant to training that students have not been able to experience in the classroom to this point.

“Increased access to training equipment, in particular patient simulators, will provide nursing students exposure to real-life clinical scenarios,” McBride said. “They will be able to experience some rare situations they would not otherwise experience.”

The new simulators will be an expansion of a program that began last year when adult simulators were purchased. The purchase of the two simulators last year was done at the completion of a $1 million renovation to the Allied Health Science department on the Atmore campus, which includes a computer lab, faculty office, a four-bed skills lab, and the simulation lab.

“These true-to-life simulators will be used to simulate a wide-range of complex medical conditions,” Billy said. “High-tech simulators are remarkable in their ability to mimic reality.”

Billy said students in the health care program at ECHS will participate in training rotations in the fall and spring of each year on the Atmore campus of JDCC in the simulation lab.

Helton said she is excited to get her students working on more realistic patients.

“We know that these simulators will greatly enhance what and how we learn,” Helton said. “Our students will go to the JD campus and work on the simulators that will be in place there. With our own equipment and what we have access to at JD will be a wonderful benefit for our students.”

McBride said the high-tech, state-of-the-art equipment and simulators to be purchased with the grant funds will keep JDCC nursing students on top of the latest educational opportunities.