POPLARVILLE - Pearl River Community College received grants totaling $159,689 on Monday, June 17, from the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation to enhance learning in three departments.
The bulk of the funds - $150,000 - will be used for a nursing simulation lab so that students will graduate with more hands-on experience in critical care decision making.
The PRCC Wellness Center will receive $5,762 for a preventive health and classroom enhancement initiative, and $3,927 will go to modernize physiology experiments in the anatomy and physiology (A&P) labs.
“We’re excited about the opportunity the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation has afforded us to enhance the learning opportunities for our students,” said Dr. William Lewis, PRCC president. “We’re very grateful for their support of our effort to continually improve classroom instruction.”
The nursing simulation lab will supplement the experience students receive in clinical settings where they frequently are not allowed to provide direct care for the most challenging and/or complex cases.
“They are going to be able to participate in emergency situations, make life-and-death decisions and participate in end-of-life care,” said Dr. Arlene Jones, PRCC director of nursing education.
The upgraded equipment will also give faculty an additional opportunity to evaluate students’ progress, she said.
PRCC construction personnel will modify the existing lab to accommodate the new equipment, which is expected to be installed and operational for the spring 2014 semester.
“Nurses are held to a very high standard of performance and are required to compete for good scores on the examination process for all nursing programs,” said Dr. Ted Alexander, chief executive officer of the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation. “In order to stay abreast of the technology, the foundation board felt that this was a wise investment relative to the health and well-being of our constituents.”
The grant for the Wellness Center will provide an overhead projector and screen, computer and speakers in a new cycling or spinning classroom to engage the millennial generation and community members to encourage healthier lifestyles, said Tara Rouse, center director.
“This initiative should increase physical activity, decrease obesity and improve the overall well-being,” she said. “It is expected that those who participate will improve their blood pressure, heart rate, weight, cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance and flexibility.”
The technology will allow for such innovations as an “Ireland Road Tour” with a virtual Spinning Master Instructor guiding participants through Ireland’s rugged cliffs, lush rolling hills and charming villages, she said.
“Like other program activities at PRCC, demand for good instruction is increasingly dependent on upgrades in equipment and, in this instance, technology,” Alexander said. “The foundation is pleased to assist in this regard.”
The equipment is expected to be in place for the fall 2013 semester.
The A&P lab grant will be used to buy ultramodern sensors and sensor interface devices to collect and analyze data about the human body, said Karen Bond, chair of the department of science, mathematics and business.
“The students can actually do the tests,” she said. “It’s a technical device where the students can take their own samples.”
Through their lab work, students will increase their proficiency in the use of technology, data collection, data analysis and date reporting skills, she said.
“Technical changes in A&P are increasingly dependent on the introduction of new processes and procedures,” Alexander said. “For A&P students to have a chance to do their lab work with this technology will greatly enhance the science department in general and A&P in particular. The foundation board is pleased to assist in helping these positive changes come about.”
Dr. Ted Alexander, chief executive officer of the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation, second from left, presented grants totaling $159,689 to Pearl River Community College for a nursing simulation lab, Wellness Center spinning equipment and computer enhancements for the anatomy and physiology lab. Accepting the grants on Monday, June 17, were, from left, Dr. Becky Askew, vice president for planning and institutional research; Wellness Center director Tara Rouse; Karen Bond, chair of the science, mathematics and business department; Dr. Arlene Jones, director of nursing education; and Dr. William Lewis, PRCC president.
PRCC Public Relations photo