Nursing and Health Science students and professors are rejoicing for their brand new $50
million, 150,000-square-foot building which will house classes in the Spring of 2015.
A whole new range of opportunities are on the horizon for Nursing and Health Science majors as the building, currently under construction, promises more space, up-to-date technology and new health science courses.
Surgical Technology and many other nursing and health science programs have, “Out-grown it’s classroom size,” Paul Monagan, dean of Nursing and Health Science, said. “The surgical technology course is one of the eight programs that will be moved to the new building. It is in need of more space due to cramped learning quarters.” It is currently serving three purposes, a computer lab, storage and three operating room setups.
“Their lab is not designed to be a lab, and so this new building will allow us to actually design a lab space based on an operating room, and that is what those people are training to be, which are operating room technologists,” Monagan said. “Now they will be training in a room designed pretty much like an operating room at the hospital, so the transition from the learning environment to the hospital is less of a difference.”
All the nursing programs have skills labs connected to each class that give students
hands-on training for bedside manner and technique. Currently, the nursing programs have only
five skills labs and are in need of more.
“For example, The Vocational Nursing Ed program (VNE) has just one skills lab, and it could easily use four or five of them, so they have to carefully schedule around using that lab,”Monagan said.
In the new Nursing and Health Science building, the students will be taught on a more individual basis.
“These skills labs will all be designed out so it looks like a hospital ward with multiple beds in it and with lots of space,” Monagan said.
As far as new technology is involved, updated simulation equipment will be added to the
nursing courses. Simulators are mannequins that demonstrate realistic imitations of human
“We can help them (students) simulate the crisis they might be in in the hospital with a
patient using a mannequin, and the more you simulate, the better you get at stuff. So then when
the real situation happens, you know what to do,” Monagan said.
Along with these two programs, the sonography, respiratory care, dental hygiene,
associate nursing, medical laboratory technology and radiologic technology will be moving
from Pirtle Technology to the new building. New programs connected to current ones are expected to be added.
TJC has a program for general sonography (ultrasound imaging) that may eventually offer an echocardiography (ultrasound images of the heart) program. Respiratory care is a two-year program that may offer a polysomnography (sleep study) program.
A new dental hygiene clinic and dental assistant program will also be inside the new
Building, as well.
Carrie Hobbs, instructor and department chair of dental hygiene, is looking forward to,
“The opportunity to provide our students with more clinical experience and to provide them with
new technologies that are in dental offices.”
“Our facility now is extremely cramped and we’re constantly having problems with our
sterilization area … because it’s so small. We are going to have a larger one. Space and technology are the biggest things, and … the opportunity for our students to have more clinical knowledge with the patients,” said Hobbs.
The new dental hygiene program will increase the enrollment from 24 to 30 students.
“When I was a student at TJC, we did not have very much space but that did not hinder
me from learning,” said Lorraine Haley, a registered nurse (RN) 2012 graduate. “But the more
space and programs that the school will add, the more attractive and attention the school will
TJC currently has an enrollment of 290 students in its Allied Health Care Professions
program (nursing and health sciences). The Allied Health Care professions include certificate
and two-year degree programs in the areas of radiologic technology, respiratory care, surgical
care, vision care, diagnostic medical sonography, registered nurse, nursing associates, dental
hygienists, paramedics, licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses.
Allied health care professionals study is demanding, and course work may include: human anatomy, chemistry, biology, psychology and human growth and development. Applicants are required to have at least a 2.5 GPA and a passing score on the entrance exam.
“160 applicants apply for enrollment and 60 are accepted for admission,” Haley said.
Currently facility space limits the number of new applicants that can be accepted.
On Dean Monagan’s wish list for future prospective programs are, a therapet (therapy
aided by a dog) program, as well as a hippotherapy (therapy aided by a
The overall goal for the new Allied Health Science and Nursing Building and all the old and new programs going in it, is to make each student the most prepared they can be for their profession. It’s about linking the academic studies with the professional knowledge needed for success in the industry.
“As a community college, we respond to the industry and create a program that will
graduate people that match the needs of the industry,” Monagan said.
Grace Malone and Jasmine Russell