Coastal Bend College will host a reception on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 2:30 p.m., in appreciation of State Representative Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles. CBC President Dr. Thomas Baynum will sign the Notice of Grant Award for the $500,000 grant, earmarked in the state budget with Gonzalez Toureilles’ assistance, to fund a mobile nursing lab.
“This funding will greatly benefit and enhance the nursing program at Coastal Bend College,” Gonzalez Toureilles said, earlier this year. “More importantly, residents of South Texas will benefit from the college’s increased ability to recruit, train and produce well-qualified registered nursing candidates that, ultimately, will staff our local hospital and health care facilities.”
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, administered through Texas Higher Coordinating Board, will make it possible for Coastal Bend College to purchase and equip a mobile lab to be circulated among its campuses in Alice, Beeville, Kingsville and Pleasanton. By taking the lab to the students, the nursing department can meet training demands in four cities for the price of one.
Betty Sims, director of nursing at the college, said one of the challenges facing rural nursing programs is the diversity and availability of patients with multiple illnesses at the time the student is in the clinical setting. “Nursing students who train in large metropolitan hospitals may see victims of heart attacks on a daily basis, but not CBC students,” Sims explained. “There is just a limit to the number of heart attacks or births in a small hospital on any given day.”
The funded project will include the purchase of a gooseneck trailer to transport medical equipment and simulators around the region. Students and local healthcare personnel will gain access to the mobile lab for classroom exercises and continuing education, according to Sims.
There are only a handful of rolling simulation labs around the country using a similar setup for training. Access to a mobile lab reduces the need for hospitals and care centers to either create their own simulation labs or send their employees out of town for training, both costly prospects.
“This grant will directly and immediately improve healthcare in our region,” Sims explained. “We are grateful for the funds and excited about bringing this project to fruition.”