Mount Marty College’s (MMC) nursing students can expect top-of-the-line training this year thanks to upgrades to the Avera Science and Nursing Center.
The center’s 9,600-square-foot second floor underwent major renovations this past year to make room for new offices and nursing simulation labs to be used by staff and students. Walls were torn down and rooms were reconfigured to make this a reality.
The facility was previously known as the Old Library, in which numerous types of classes were held. With the remodel, the building will now be devoted solely to nursing-related courses.
The project is on the verge of completion and is expected to be finished by the time classes begin next Monday.
Another new element to MMC’s nursing program is the creation of the Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences position. That went to Dr. Mary Anne Krogh, who had previously been director of the MMC Nurse Anesthesia program in Sioux Falls. She will continue to be an associate professor for that program and split her time between Sioux Falls and Yankton.
She said she is impressed with the level of technology that is being provided to the center, particularly in regards to the simulation labs.
“A simulation room has a glass divide where an instructor on the other side can control the simulation,” she explained. “The instructor can sit at a computer and make the simulator do all kinds of things.”
The labs also come with realistic dummies that students will use to practice dealing with patients with a variety of medical issues, ranging from pregnancy to pneumonia.
“The lovely thing about simulation is that we can teach students things that they will rarely see in clinical, which will help them be more comfortable if an emergency comes up,” Krogh said.
The setup of the labs include a realistic clinic room, a hospital room and an assisted living apartment, giving the students an idea of what it would be like to work in those environments.
“We have the full gamut of nursing care experience in our sim center,” Krogh said. “This gives the students more confidence in their abilities to care for patients and grow as nurses.”
The second floor also has classrooms/meeting rooms with smartboards, which allow visuals to be projected onto a screen.
“Those will be very useful when (the instructors) are demonstrating skills,” Krogh said.
The hallways of the first and second floors will also feature display cases that showcase the nursing profession and the history of MMC’s nursing program.
Not much has changed with the first floor of the facility, which houses the masters of nursing program.
MMC Assistant Nursing Professor/Sacred Heart Hospital Endowed Chair Dr. Diane Smith said the new labs are just a step in the direction of where they want the program to go.
“This nursing program has always been (with the college) and it’s continued to evolve with the times,” she said. “It has a lot of opportunities to grow, and we’ll keep growing as we meet the community needs.”
Though the official ribbon cutting for the facility will be held in October, the nursing committee’s years of planning in making it a reality will officially set in when the students arrive.
“The moment (the students) get here will be the moment we’ll all step back and smile because it’s been so important to get that floor for Mount Marty students,” Smith said.
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