Jobs await Young Memorial Campus nursing program grads

MORGAN CITY, La. -- Utilizing high-tech simulated patients, state-of-the-art software, artificial limbs and computer-based classroom instruction along with the typical out-of-classroom clinicals, South Central Louisiana Technical College Young Memorial Campus offers a 15-month Practical Nursing program that has a nearly 100 percent placement rate, said department head Beverly Henn.

Donations from the H&B Young Foundation have given the college some advanced technology and simulators that the college uses such as a realistic, full-body adult, wireless patient simulator that was purchased four years ago and is utilized to teach core skills, Henn said.

Students hone their clinical decision-making skills in scenario-based training that is taught and evaluated as they attend to “Vincent Brody,” a simulated patient the manufacturer has called the “SimMan.” The $63,000 simulated patient can be manipulated to talk, cough, bleed, urinate and vomit, Henn said. Prospective nurses listen to the SimMan’s complaints, monitor his heart beat and pulse, listen to breath and bowel sounds and process that information into a plan of treatment.

There are other mannequin-type patients that the college utilizes to teach nursing skills. One of which is affectionately named “Granny.” She has false teeth that can be removed and cared for, a tracheotomy tube is inserted in her throat and she has an artificial eye. All of these components are used to teach students how to care for patients.

There are 10 artificial limbs for the students to practice IV therapy. The artificial limbs and simulated patients enable the college to demonstrate and teach 103 skills during a pair of fundamentals courses.

A $43,000 nursing documentation software was purchased this year through a Young Foundation donation. The software has been installed on computers in a room designed to look just like a nursing station. This prepares students for the real world where all health care facilities have been mandated to have and use the software, Henn said. The software logs a digital patient chart with information such as nursing notes and doctor’s orders which prevents errors due to illegible handwritten notes.

Clinical rotations are done at Teche Regional Medical Center in Morgan Center and the Franklin Foundation Hospital in Franklin, the Morgan City Health Care Center as well as doctor’s offices and home health agencies, Henn said.

“We really appreciate all of those that work with our students during clinicals and help them get hands on training,” Henn said.

The nursing department is trying to go “green” and reduce paper usage. Students are asked to have access to a computer, preferably a laptop since much of the course work is done by computer, including the syllabus, classroom presentations, notes, study guides and homework.

All the graduates from the past few semesters that are available to work, have been placed with employment after graduation, many having jobs offered to them before they graduate, Henn said.

The vocation of nursing offers a rewarding career in pay and personal satisfaction for many who want to make a difference in people lives, Henn said. Training for that career can be completed in Morgan City with fall semester classes that begin Aug. 19 and conclude Dec. 9.

The course consists of four semesters with 50 credit hours earned during the 17 courses taught. Students are given 1,550 clock hours of instruction, of which 835 are in a laboratory or clinical setting.

The college has a dual-enrollment program with St. Mary Parish schools that allows up to seven credit hours and 160 clock hours in three courses to be completed during high school.

Four instructors, each with 15 years or more experience as registered nurses, teach the two classes that are enrolled each year, Henn said. The college places nearly 100 percent of its nursing graduates with employment in jobs that range from $13 to $18 per hour, she said.

The program includes a summer semester and there are a limited number of hours that can be missed before a student must be dropped from the program so students must have their circumstances in order and be prepared for a commitment to spending 15 months in study, classes or clinicals every day, Henn said

Classes are conducted 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and clinicals are 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Summer hours of clinicals change to 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Financial aid is available in the form of Pell grants, TOPS scholarships and Workforce Development scholarships. Guidance counselors are on campus to help with aid applications.

The college is located at 900 Youngs Road in Morgan City. The phone number is 985-380-2957.

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