Thursday, 26 November 2015 08:46

MHC nursing program gets a technological boost

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Daylynn Knodel (injecting simulator) and Alex McEwen (with IV bag) love the MHC nursing program. Daylynn Knodel (injecting simulator) and Alex McEwen (with IV bag) love the MHC nursing program.

When a post-secondary institution is teaching a highly-specialized program such as nursing it has to have all the tools available to properly instruct and with technology constantly improving, it’s difficult to keep up.

Fortunately for the Medicine Hat College, the Rodgers Endowment Fund assisted recently in purchasing some needed simulators and other related training equipment.
The simulators in this case are mannequins which are specially built “for scenario-based training in the medical field with lifelike arms with multiple veins for intravenous (IV) therapy; and an intuitive patient monitor to help students familiarize themselves with reading pulses and treating clients.”
Approximately $72,000 was spent on the equipment. It came from the fund which was established following a $2.2-million donation from Ron Rodgers in memory of his wife Willma.
Elizabeth Pennefather-O’Brien, acting dean of the Division of Science and Health, says a committee is established and will help decide, in consultation with those within the college, what is needed and where money is allocated.
“It’s quite a process to decide what is the most crucial and what needs to be purchased right away,” explains Pennefather-O’Brien. “It’s quite a thorough process and it’s quite a list.”
She says equipment is improving all the time and it’s important to acquire the proper equipment and spend wisely. Institutions are spending a lot of money on equipment and simulators with short life spans.
“The more practice the learners have, the better,” adds Pennefather-O’Brien who notes Brooks students do have access to the lab equipment in Medicine Hat.
She says the equipment does get transported to Brooks from Medicine Hat for their use but Pennefather-O’Brien adds the goal is get more equipment out there permanently.
Recently third-year students Daylynn Knodel and Alex McEwen were working with a simulation arm which can be used for practising inserting IVs or drawing “blood.” Both students were excited with the news and says this adds to an already excellent program.
According to Knodel, Medicine Hat College’s nursing program, which is affiliated with the University of Calgary’s nursing program, gets top marks. For her, coming to Medicine Hat was a good move. 
“The program had a good reputation and I like the smaller class sizes,” explains Knodel. “(New equipment) makes it more realistic.”
Brittany Gold, a simulation technologist adds it’s extremely beneficial to have additional quality pumps to go with simulation arms.
Pennefather-O’Brien says it’s important to be as diversified and offer as many technological advantages as possible. She says Medicine Hat and Brooks campuses are draws because not all of the students want to become specialized in one specific field in nursing.  There are a lot of rural students or students who want to work outside of the urban centres because they prefer the general practice where they will deal with a lot of scenarios. With the internships Medicine Hat provides, they are working in the rural areas and hands-on experiences in those areas means students will get a wide array of situations to experience.
“So far so good with the access to labs,” adds Pennefather-O’Brien. “It’s sufficient when we look at the balance with the space and the equipment and student numbers.”

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor