By Joe Thorpe
A full house hosted by Cape Cod Community College’s (4Cs) President John Cox, and 4Cs Educational Foundation Executive Director Kathy McNamara, for the unveiling of the newly renovated Nursing and Allied Health facility at the official ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, November 1st. The $3.7 million renovations took only less than a year to complete, from inception to the start of this fall semester. From what was a couple of classrooms on the bottom floor of the North building, now exists a 2,700 sq. ft. world class teaching facility.
The transformation was made possible, not through the state, but from donations out of the local community. The largest, $1.128 million coming from long-time contributing benefactor Mrs. Maureen Wilkins, whose name students will recognize from the Wilkins’ Library, and the MM Wilkens’ Hall, formerly known as the South building. Also the $1 million from Cape Cod Healthcare (CCH), inspired by the vision of CEO Michael Lauf, to create ever-growing job opportunity for 4Cs Nursing and Allied Health students in the local healthcare market and beyond. Other substantial contributions came from the Cape Cod Five Charitable Foundation, represented by CEO and 4Cs trustee Dorothy Savarese, with an amount of $250K. Bill Bogdanovich, of Liberty Commons in Chatham, who emboldened donations from peer organizations in the post-acute healthcare community, and several other Cape Cod Foundations who remain anonymous, amongst other individual donors.
With the donation from CCH comes a commitment to internships and novice nursing programs that 4Cs students as Registered Nurse degree graduates can pursue while they continue their studies to earn their Bachelors of Science in Nursing.
“There are a lot of people involved because when you try to do things like this, there’s not always a lot of state support for funding,” President Cox said. “The state actually gave us some flexibility in how we executed [the expansion], [to do so] more locally, and that enabled us to go from literally the public announcement to move-in in less than a year. That’s pretty phenomenal for a state agency.
“It’s a lot of people in play with this to make this successful, everything from sitting down at the table with nursing faculty and staff, and the staff at CCH to go over the nuances, and the design, to where when you see the facility it looks like what you’ll see at a [professional] healthcare facility. It really helps students become familiar with what they’re going to see when they’re out of the classroom.”
The expansion is not limited to the size of the space, but also to the number of students the highly competitive program can accept, the amount of faculty employed, and new technology and equipment.
The Nursing and Allied Health program will be adding eight new seats for students over four semesters; a total of 32 by 2019. There have also been three new faculty positions created and filled, with more to be generated as the program grows with additional students.
An exclusive tour of the facility for the Main Sheet reveals state-of-the-art training accommodations and equipment that will provide 4cs Nursing and Allied Health students with an experience unparalleled anywhere on Cape Cod before.
“What we really have here, in our lab, is a set-up that looks like a healthcare environment, it really is a healthcare setting,” said Marion Santos, M.S.N, R.N, and faculty Lab coordinator. Santos started at 4Cs just over a year ago and started planning for the expansion two weeks into the job. “[It is a] very exciting time to be here, and I had done this job at Regis College [for] five years prior to being here.”
Entering the far north end of the building Nursing and Allied Health students now have a private, quiet study space with a modern aesthetic by the BKA interior design firm of Brockton, Mass., who were the architects for the entire renovation with input from the faculty.
“From the first few weeks I was here we started working on developing ideas for this new lab,” Santos said. “What we wanted, and what we needed as far as Nursing and Allied Health, faculty had a lot of say in what this lab should look like, and what should be [included]. The architects came in, and made sure we had [what we wanted]. That’s what I think was so exciting about this process.”
As you turn inside, you come into laboratory one, a wide-open space that continues its flow the expanse of the facilities generous space. This first lab has eight hospital beds, the same ones you’d find in professional healthcare operations. Behind each bed are headwalls–the familiar large mounted wooden headboards, up and behind hospital beds–that serve as a station for medical equipment such as suction tubes and oxygen supplying apparatus. Moderate fidelity mannequins occupy some of the beds. These are simulation dummies that students can use to functionally execute some medical procedures.
To the left are two exam rooms used by students to perform tasks as phlebotomy procedures, medical assisting, and physical exams. The exam rooms have separating glass doors
that, when closed the instructors can observe, providing the students a sense of removal from the instructors, simulating a more genuine experience.
Passing through lab one, and between lab two, is the faculty office on one side, and to the other a central nurse’s station. Here sits an intriguing piece of equipment, a mannequin torso with only a right arm with tubes running from it. Aptly named Chester Chest, it is used for practicing drawing a central line–how to draw blood.
Behind the nurse’s station, and Chester Chest, there are two working medication carts, where the students, who when working in their future nursing careers will need to be well-practiced at dispensing medications for multiple patients. With a potential life or death need to get the medication at the right time, in the correct dose, and for the right patient, this exercise is crucial. Set back from there is a long hallway that serves as a supply closet.
Laboratory two has six beds identical to those in lab one, and also contains several more of the moderate fidelity mannequins.
Past lab two, the final section of the upgrade, are two simulation rooms adjacent to two debriefing rooms. The debriefing rooms serve as classrooms, but double as digital observation posts for what happens in the simulation rooms via large screen television monitors.
The simulation rooms, like the exam rooms and labs, again are modeled to mirror profession healthcare hospital rooms. The real stars of the show are the high–as opposed to moderate–fidelity mannequins they house.
Simulation room one dubbed the family room; inside are three high fidelity mannequins serving as a family. There is an adult male (sim man) in the single bed, an adolescent female (sim jr.) sitting upright in a chair with a blanket pulled up to her chin, and a baby mannequin (sim baby) at the foot of the bed in a hospital bassinet.
In simulation room two there is one patient known as sim man essential.
The two simulation rooms are separated by two joined control rooms sandwiched in between. These rooms utilize one-way mirrors to observe students interacting with their patient mannequins. Students receive preliminary instruction, and the instructor operates the mannequin from the control room. The instructor can set the mannequins blood pressure, pulse rate, breathing–the mannequin’s chest can rise and fall–they can even simulate anaphylactic shock.
The instructor can also make the mannequins speak with the use of a microphone. The instructor can talk into a headset microphone, and it will come out the other end from the mouth of, and in the voice of the mannequin, or by running preprogrammed computer scenarios, the mannequin can replicate symptoms of illness or medical problems.
There are cameras recording the students live in the simulation rooms. The live feed plays in one of the debriefing rooms where classes can observe, and learn to positively critique their fellow students for mistakes, improvements, and praise what was right.
“The new lab is amazing,” said Jermaine Cardoza, second-year nursing student, nursing club president, and work-study in the nursing facility. “It looks and feels like a hospital. The old lab didn’t have that feeling. When we would do simulation, it was easy to get distracted and lose focus.
“Overall, I am very excited to use the new lab, and all the equipment that matches Cape Cod Healthcare. Having the same equipment as the hospitals, I would like to work at, will help my transition into the work environment.”
The nursing facility is not the end of the expansion package. There is still over $1 million earmarked for upgrading the HVAC system throughout the North building, and is expected for completion by the end of summer 2018.