What began with a groundbreaking ceremony in July 2009 has blossomed into a shiny new landmark on the horizon of nursing education at Central Texas College (CTC). The community college opened the doors to its new nursing facility with the start of the spring 2011 semester. The more than 86,000-square-foot, two-story structure houses state-of-the-art equipment, classroom and lab space and a variety of simulated healthcare, emergency and hospital space to provide students a unique learning experience.
The new building is also shared by Texas A&M-Central Texas and Metroplex Hospital. CTC occupies 39,304 square feet of the facility for nursing education and faculty offices while Texas A&M-Central Texas will use 25,292 square feet for its ROTC program and 11 classrooms and 34 faculty offices. Metroplex will house administrative offices in 11,984 square feet. The remaining 10,000-plus square feet consist of a lobby/common area and study space for students.
CTC spent more than $1.3 million on technology, equipment and furniture to provide students the most realistic training possible. More than $500,000 was spent on patient simulators or manikins which imitate real patient conditions and symptoms in an authentic hospital environment. CTC also added an ambulance simulator for more than $25,000 which will off nursing and EMT/paramedic students “real-world” training inside an ambulance. In addition, numerous hospital “smart beds,” hospital room equipment and furnishings were purchased at a cost of nearly $200,000.
Included in the new facility is an ambulance bay, simulated operating rooms, intensive care unit, emergency room and labor and delivery rooms. Each room is set up to mimic an actual hospital setting to acclimate students to their future working environment. Eight hospital simulation labs were constructed to include a two-bed intensive care unit, six-bed basic/critical care unit, five-bed emergency room, two-bed pediatric care unit, two-bed labor and delivery room, two-bed home health care unit and an operating room.
A two-part centralized management and audio visual recording system was installed at a cost of $671,000. First, the Arcadia Total SIM (TSIM) system ensures the effectiveness of a simulation center by automating the entire simulation lab workflow from scenario development to post scenario analysis through debriefing. TSIM allows faculty to build and execute scenarios, identify debriefing plans and create pre- and post-scenario learner activities and evaluation checklists. Faculty can post readings, videos, etc., for the student to prepare for the pending scenario. With TSIM, automatic electronic scoring provides immediate results based on information stored during the scenario definition process, eliminating human error. It can also be used to provide on-going calendar management for the center including schedules for individuals, inventory management of all equipment required by the center plus automatic e-mail notification.
The second component is a powerful web-based system, Arcadia Total Digital AV (DAVS), which provides a digital video record of individual and team performance in simulation and standardized patient environments. The system delivers single screen management of the center, touch screen and joystick capability plus dashboard views showing the center’s complete status at a glance. For remote viewing, it provides permission-enabled access of live or pre-recorded video through the web.
The new facility is also eco-friendly with the installation of environmentally-conscious features including a water use reduction system, lighting control system, storage and collection of recyclables capabilities and water-efficient landscaping.
Since its first graduating class of 11 students in 1970, CTC nursing enrollments and program offerings have grown significantly. Last year, the program graduated more than 100 students in the registered nursing (RN) program and licensed vocational nursing (LVN) program. The fall 2010 semester saw nearly 60 students combined complete these programs.
With the ever-growing number of nursing students, CTC has accommodated the growth by constructing new nursing facilities as the need arose. The first nursing building was completed in March 1971. It featured a simulated hospital room, a closed circuit television for training films and a large lecture room. The cost for that building was a little more than $628,500.
CTC upgraded its nursing facility again 24 years later with the opening of its current building in 1995. It houses several laboratories, classrooms, lecture halls, simulated hospital rooms and offices. It is also home to the science and agriculture classes. The brand new facility, which cost nearly $23 million, will enable CTC to offer more state-of-the-art teaching techniques through new equipment and increased classroom space.
CTC offers several degree and certificate options within its nursing program: nursing associate degree for registered nursing (ADN), nursing option for licensed vocational nursing (LVN), EMT/Paramedic degree, paramedic to ADN and vocational nursing certificate of completion. Currently 200 students are enrolled in the ADN program and 40 in the LVN program there are 12 EMT students and 41 in the paramedic program.