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PCC trustees tour simulation labs

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PCC Trustees tour the Simulation Hospital on Jan. 22, 2019. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The head of Vidant Medical Center praised Pitt Community College’s health sciences leaders for their efforts to increase the number of nurses and other medical program students graduating in eastern North Carolina.

Brian Floyd, president of Vidant Medical Center and chief operating officer of Vidant Health, joined other PCC trustees in a tour of the new simulation laboratories in the school’s Herman Simon Building.

“Partnerships between these two institutions is why I am on this board,” Floyd said. As the trustees walked throughout the space Floyd commented several times that he saw opportunities to explore additional partnerships between PCC and Vidant.

“I was impressed with the simulation (labs) and I want to follow up on how we can partner to maximize its effectiveness for all of eastern North Carolina,” Floyd said. Vidant contributed $500,000 to the hospital simulation lab, he said, in return for PCC expanding its nursing program. The expansion now allows PCC to accept up to 150 student per class. 

PCC had a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house in November to mark the opening of its newly-renovated 10-bed simulation hospital, laboratory space for ultrasound training and nuclear medicine and a classroom for the emergency medical services program, which includes an outfitted ambulance box.

A number of trustees were unable to attend the November event, so Tuesday’s tour was scheduled so they could see how the new space was aiding students, said Donna Neal, dean of PCC’s Health Sciences Division.

“We haven’t had a simulation space where the programs can work together,” Neal said. The simulation hospital — two rooms each containing five beds set up as a hospital bed spaces, plus a control center where faculty can observe student work and program the simulated “patients” — will allow nursing students to work simultaneously with students from the respiratory therapy or occupational therapy, as they would in a hospital setting, Neal said.

“These are as close to human patient simulators as you can get,” nursing instructor Alison Knox said.

Simulated patients can be programmed to exhibit symptoms of low oxygen, including blue lips, Knox said, so students can practice placing them on a ventilator.

Floyd said he was pleased the attention to detail, such as having anti-bacterial gel stationed outside each room, saying it is “big, big business”  to train hospital staff to follow proper protocols to protect the health of patients.

Floyd later said he recently visited a newly open medical school which did not have the same level of quality of simulation labs as PCC.

The ultrasound lab has 10 stations, which has allow PCC to increase the number of students accepted in the program, Neal said.

Once PCC finishes renovating space for mammography, radiology and occupational therapy labs, the number of student accepted in those programs will increase.

Floyd said there are hospitals in eastern North Carolina that only can accept a limited number of patients because of nursing shortages.

“It will certainly help the people of eastern North Carolina,” Floyd said.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570.

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