One of Mississippi’s community colleges has opened a new health care education facility on the Gulf Coast that officials hope will not only add to students’ education, but also assist in workforce development and better patient outcomes.
On Oct. 11, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) cut the ribbon on its new Healthcare Simulation Center, housed in MGCCC’s Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center in Gulfport.
While health care simulation facilities are already available on the coast, MGCCC’s center is the first that is open for public assess.
MGCCC president Dr. Mary S. Graham said, “The college has successfully and purposefully focused on innovative programs that promote student employability and on providing facilities that are flexible and creative to foster the 21st century learner. The Healthcare Simulation Center reflects those goals.”
A little over a year in the making, the Healthcare Simulation Center Simulation Center is roughly 5,000-square-foot simulated four-bed hospital that includes an emergency department/triage area with ambulance bay, obstetric/pediatric patient room, intensive care/critical care patient room, medical-surgical patient room, nursing station and six debriefing locations. Those utilizing the center have access to a large 50-seat classroom, two computer classrooms and several smaller 10- to 20-seat classrooms.
The Healthcare Simulation Center is available for use by MGCCC students and faculty, and is also open to community partners and the public as a wonderful venue for training and education.
The center is led by Tiffany Jasperson, who has worked in the area of simulation since 2006. She has previous experience implementing simulation programs in both the community college and university setting. Prior to becoming the director of the Healthcare Simulation Center, she was the director of the 20,000-square-foot Clinical Performance Lab at Seattle University College of Nursing and the chair of the Pacific Northwest Healthcare Simulation Collaborative.
“The center at Seattle University is bigger, but at least while I was there was focused strictly on nursing,” Jasperson. “The Healthcare Simulation center here at MGCCC is much more diversified.”
Jasperson and MGCCC has already seen this diversity. In addition to health care students and those already in the industry, the center has been utilized by funeral services for training.
“Manakins can die,” Jasperson said.
MGCCC’s commitment to further health care education on the postsecondary level has not come cheaply. Jasperson did not have a hard figure for the center’s overall cost, but said each manakin, which is essentially a robot, can cost nearly $100,000. The center houses three adult simulators, a birthing simulator and a pediatric simulator.
In addition, the center offers an automated medication dispensing system and access to equipment for training in areas such as assessment, oxygenation and respiratory care, IV insertion, catheterization, wound care, nutritional and gastrointestinal care and code care.
However, Jasperson said the cost is worth it. The spark for simulation centers across the country came in the late 1990s when an Institute of Medicine report showed too many patients were becoming ill from preventable errors in health care facilities, and set the goal of reducing those errors by at least 50 percent over the next five years.
“That is the rewarding part of my job — watching students and professionals grow in their knowledge and skills. It’s about better students and about better patient care,” Jasperson said.
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