Wharton County Junior College will host an open house this month at its state-of-the-art healthcare simulation lab as a way of celebrating the facility’s one-year anniversary.
Scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17, in rooms 135, 144 and 145 of the Johnson Health Occupations Center on the Wharton campus, the event coincides with the anniversary of the lab’s installation as well as the global Healthcare Simulation Week observance.
The lab opened in August of 2018 and was followed by a large-scale $6.5 million renovation of the entire JHOC building, which houses the bulk of the college’s Allied Health and Emergency Medical Services programs.
The renovation was completed in March of 2019.
“The simulation lab open house offers an opportunity for community members interested in pursuing a healthcare career to see firsthand our exceptional training facilities,” said Zina Carter, WCJC’s director of marketing, communications and advancement. “We encourage people from all walks of life to join us and share the word about this impressive training facility.”
Both projects were funded in part through grants from the Johnson Foundation and Gulf Coast Medical Foundation.
“None of this would be possible without their generous funding,” said ADN Program Director Dr. Andrea Shropshire.
During the Sept. 17 open house, Shropshire said the public will have the chance to see the simulation lab in action. Students from the college’s Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) and Vocational Nursing (LVN) programs – as well as the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program – will conduct a range of scenarios. The lab houses a host of training devices and equipment, the most notable of which are sophisticated, computer-controlled mannequins that can be programmed to exhibit various illnesses and health-related problems. The mannequins include premature babies and even a “pregnant” woman that can deliver a child.
Shropshire said WCJC’s simulation lab is one of the largest in the state and enables students to experience the treatment of a wide range of patients, from pediatric to geriatric.
“The simulation lab provides students with a safe place to practice improving patient outcomes without the fear of harming an actual patient,” she said. “Once they graduate they will have had exposure to a very diverse patient population.”
Amy Pendergraft, an ADN instructor, said WCJC’s facilities provide students with the edge they need to be successful in the healthcare field. “The hands-on training is crucial to nursing,” Pendergraft said. “It’s improved our student outcomes tremendously.”