HELENA - On Friday, Dr. Cech was officially inaugurated as Carroll College’s 18th president and during his inauguration ceremony President Cech announced the E.L. Wiegand Foundation provided a $1 million grant to Carroll College to fund the E.L. Wiegand Nursing Simulation Center.
Currently the nursing program only has one simulation lab, where students can get real hands on experience with patients. The grant money will allow them to add another simulation lab as well as a skills and assessment lab. Some of the new technology the center will be getting is a med cart, which is similar to what the students will be using once they graduate.
“With our new equipment we’re actually getting something that will simulate that and looks almost identical to what they’ve been using out in the facilities. It’s going to build their muscle memory and that they’re going to be able to go through the correct steps and be able to do that properly,” said Karmen Williams, Chair of the Department of Nursing.
According to the college, the renovations and new equipment will strengthen the curriculum and allow the program to grow. In addition, allow them to begin a post baccalaureate accelerated nursing program that students can complete in just 12 months depending on the program.
The Nursing Simulation Center will address the national growing need for baccalaureate prepared nurses and the unique challenges facing rural healthcare.
According to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, there are approximately 17,300 registered nurses in Montana and with an estimated 14% of all RN’s retiring in the next ten years. But some Carroll College nursing students are hoping that strengthening the curriculum will help address that shortage.
“The world needs more nurses. Carroll is such a great place to learn how to be a nurse, and by having all these things, by expanding the labs it will not only just effect Carroll but the community as well,” said Katie Grenier, a junior nursing student.
According to Williams, about 50% of the nursing students at Carroll College are from Montana and a handful of them are staying in Helena once they graduate and a few more are planning to stay in the Treasure State.
While expanding their nursing program, the college does have goals to move forward with new graduate programs in the health profession. The renovations are expected to be complete in April of 2020.