New Nursing and Health Center Science Center officially opens


By: Adriana Garrett
Staff Writer

As the doors opened the wall of bleach, latex, and linens tumbles down. Looking down the long hallways, filled with a clinical lab, x-ray rooms, surgical room, or the debriefing room. The feeling of being lost rises, as if there is a need to find for a certain patient in the clone rooms and corridors. Finally something eye-catching appears that is familiar, a student lounge.

Everyone’s first reaction of Tyler Junior Colleges new Nursing and Health Sciences Center is, “wow this looks and feels like I am in a hospital.” With four simulation rooms filled with about 10 dummies each, who can breathe, talk, and bleed out, full on birthing rooms, and a surgical technological room in order to be the eyes for surgeons through a surgery.

“I don’t think there is a school in East Texas as equipped as we are,” said Elizabeth Sergeant who is in her third level in the nursing R.N. program at TJC. “Everything we have is state of the art, and allows us to get more real life experiences.”

Everything is fully functional in each one of the rooms on the medical side of the building. The nurses and surgical technicians in training get to work hands on with the dummies, it’s not pretend for students as they are put through real life scenarios and need to react quickly in order to save the patients life. Cameras are also placed in every room for those that are in the classroom can examine the procedures, post and pre-ops in order to discuss what occurred, and correct errors.

Most of the instructors are mastered level nurses, who have had much experiences in the medical field andf now want the opportunity to teach the knowledge they learned. One among many of those is Department Chair of the surgical technology department and a professor, Sherry Seaton BSN. R.N. CNOR.

“We really have a mini surgical suit,” said Seaton while explaining the many different functions taking place in the surgical room. “This is what you would see in a real operating room today.”

Not only is TJC educating with more hands on experience to its students, but also to the community. This summer will be the first that the new center will hold a camp for kids 12-18 who will have three and a half days of learning on and behind the scene of the medical profession. It gives children a chance to experience the medical field, and not just think about it.

“When I speak to young people I tell them you have no excuses. What you have available for you today there is no excuse for not succeeding,” said Seaton.

On top of what proceeds to be one of the top nursing learning facilities in all of East Texas, there is a whole other side which is dedicated to the Dental Hygiene Department. As soon as you walk through you enter in the waiting room, till the dental assistant welcomes you in. There were dozens of empty dental cubicles waiting to be filled with aching, dirty mouths that need tending to.

Most of the dental stations were donated in honor of or by individual singles or couples in Tyler, including TJC’s very own President, Dr. Mike Metke.

With such an equipped facility now it is hard to believe TJC is only a two-year school, with that being said the first to switch over would be the Dental Hygiene department. The school has put into work, and put through the city and to Senator Eltife to be presented with the head of the Senate Higher Ed Committee the resolution packet for means in change in degree availability. If passed it would be enforced at the end of session.

Lastly besides all the student classrooms, and a zero level dedicated to study time, there is a wellness and fitness section across from the Dental Department. Here they offer physical therapy and occupational therapy, with real certified trainer’s instruction the students, and hands on experience and learning with actual patients. They have an equipped gym and rehabilitation station.

On the drive by this 150,000 square foot building looks beautiful on the outside, and draw dropping on the inside. With six programs making the new Robert M. Rogers nursing and Health Science Center their new home. A $50 million project that was funded by approved bonds, private individuals, and organization donors. Those names are dully noted throughout the building with plaks all around the interior and exterior of the building including Paul Powell with Roberts M. Rogers with the leading gift providing the buildings name.

“This is not a TJC project, this is a Tyler project,” said Dr. Metke, and one that has and will change the image of TJC and the Tyler community for decades to come.