NCC Expands Healthcare Simulation Thanks to a Mini-Grant from the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation

Northwest Iowa Community College has expanded its healthcare simulation capabilities thanks to a mini-grant from the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation.

The $2,000 grant funds the purchase of a geriatric manikin, laundry hamper and bed linens to be used in lab space for the Certified Nurse Assistant courses offered by the college.

The new equipment will be used by students for hands-on skill practice and clinical simulation for the CNA Program.

Most students who complete the CNA program through NCC work in area long-term care facilities or are enrolled in one of the nursing programs offered at the college. The CNA course consists of 30 classroom hours, 15 hours of lab experience and 30 hours of clinical experience working in long-term care facilities.

COVID-19 limited clinical experience opportunities in facilities for students, and simulation has expanded to meet those needs.

“Simulation allows students to practice in a safe environment where they can see a wide variety of patient types,” said Kim Karhoff, Director of Nursing Programs. “In a rural area where patient volumes are lower, we are able to control the situation and maximize learning time.”

During simulation, the students communicate with the patient, conduct procedures such as personal care, and take vital signs.

“Simulation is a safe place to make mistakes,” Karhoff said. “This is where we start to turn the theories we have learned in the classroom into practical skills.”

Each year the college runs several CNA classes. In 2019-2020, more than 250 individuals were trained and over the last five years more than 1,100 have received the education through NCC.

Once construction on the $9 million expansion/remodel of the healthcare building, there will be additional room for simulation, including separate skill labs for each healthcare program and a hospital setting for simulation which will include delivery/postpartum rooms, medical/surgical rooms and a large room that can be serve as an emergency room or operating room.