Students benefit from grant funded initiatives

Students benefit from grant funded initiatives
Posted on 08/18/2017
This is the image for the news article titled Students benefit from grant funded initiativesEach year the staff members of Northeast Tech spend a portion of their time developing grant proposals to purchase training equipment that will enhance the learning experience of their students. This year, Northeast Tech received approval of three High Growth and Emerging Technologies grants from the Oklahoma State Department of Career & Technical Education. Together these grants bring $150,000 of new training equipment to three of Northeast Tech’s campuses.

Practical Nursing Instructor Jodi Bell was one of this year’s grant applicants, and the $50,000 grant she received was used to purchase simulation equipment for the Practical Nursing (PN) Program at Northeast Tech’s Kansas Campus.

“This year the Oklahoma State Board of Nursing has approved schools of nursing to substitute up to 30% of clinical hours with simulated patient care experiences,” Bell said. “The availability of clinical sites has always been an issue in our area, and the incorporation of simulation training will enable us to provide students with realistic, high-quality training they might otherwise miss if we depend solely on past practice.”

The current PN lab has three mannequins: two are basic mannequins and the third is the Laerdal Anne model which allows for a realistic experience in which students can hear breathing sounds and take vital signs. The recent grant will increase the amount of simulation technology used in the program.

“The clinical setting is a good opportunity for students to be able to engage in realistic experiences, but they are somewhat limited in what they experience based on the patients they see,” Bell said. “For example, not every one may experience a birth or cardiac arrest while on clinical visits. Having the simulation equipment greatly expands the number of training experiences we can provide our students.”

A grant similar to Bell’s was completed by Claremore Practical Nursing Instructor Karen Flatt, who was also awarded a $50,000 grant for purchase of training equipment.

“Our lab needs additional beds and other equipment that is comparable to what is currently used at all of our clinical sites,” Flatt said. “Three examples of needed equipment are: an additional functioning wall suctioning device that actually will allow students to turn on simulated gases for oxygen/suctioning regulation, an upgrade to our SimAnna Manikin and a medication dispensing system.”

In her proposal, Flatt also highlighted the benefits of using simulation technology to provide students with a more diverse learning experience that what can be guaranteed in the clinical setting. One key difference in the proposals was Flatt’s request for medication dispensing equipment.

“Due to an increase in legal concerns over students dispensing medications some clinical sites now limit students to just observation in this area,” Flatt said. “Having an electronic dispensing system – a medication system called a Pyxis – available for students to practice with in a lab setting will both enhance their learning experience and better prepare them for a career in nursing.”

Rounding out the grant awardees is Electrical Technology Instructor Keith Glenn from Northeast Tech’s Afton Campus. Glenn’s was the second part of his grant that sought funding to complete the simulation equipment that has enhanced his students’ industrial training beyond what takes place in the shop.

“Last year we incorporated industrial controls and pneumatics simulators that radically changed my approach to teaching these areas,” Glenn said. “Three add-ons were needed to implement the industrial maintenance development on multiple levels.”

The first add-on funded by the grant is an Industrial Training System, which will provide a second side to the existing trainer and thereby accommodate more students. This simulator system includes an extensive array of modules that represent control components found in industry, focusing primarily on industrial controls and programmable logic controllers.

The second add-on is the Hydraulics Level 1 Fundamentals components and Programmable Logic Controller which completes the hydraulic system.

“On this trainer, industrial-grade components are pre-labeled with appropriate circuit symbols, and the repositionable components allow students to build a foundation of knowledge one device at a time,” said Glenn. “The final add-on we’ll be able to purchase is the Pneumatics Training System, which teaches circuit assembly, pneumatics, and simulates real-world troubleshooting – something critical in these dangerous fields of industry.”

Having received approval of the grants, the instructors have already begun the process of ordering the new equipment, and many of this year’s students will reap the benefits.
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