New labs at Muscatine Community College helping to train Iowa’s future nurses

MUSCATINE, Iowa - Newly renovated nursing labs made their debut at Muscatine Community College on September 9th.

It's one of three new nursing labs being shown off to the public by Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC) this week.

In Muscatine, the new classroom looks just like a real hospital room.

New simulation bays, teaching technology and furniture, along with simulator mannequins will make students feel like they're really working in the health care industry.

Kalli Leach, a freshman who hopes to become a traveling nurse some day, says the new technology will help her transfer skills from the classroom to the real world.

"When I was a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) and I was just getting on the floor for my clinical and doing things, I was so nervous to do it to actual people because its such a big transition from the dummy's," Leach said.

Leaders say it is an important upgrade as real-world learning experiences are becoming more rare.

"There`s not as many options or opportunities for students to be out in the real world working with real life patients. So, this is the next best thing," said Dawn Boettcher, Dean of Health Programs.

There's a nationwide shortage of nurses in America. As more and more health care professionals work with less help, it can be difficult to fit students into real-world situations where they gain experience.

That becomes even more true for students in rural areas who don't live near major hospitals.

That's why mannequins like the ones in EICC's new labs will be important to educating future nurses.

"This opportunity will allow the students to get hands on experience with a mannequin that acts and feels and reacts just like a normal human would in sometimes really critical situations," said Boettcher.

It's one way the college is training the next generation of nurses with intention.

The college is also offering some nursing students the "Last Dollar Scholarship."

It covers the full cost of tuition for certain vocational programs like nursing.

An investment that could help combat Iowa's nursing shortage.

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