Sierra Vista Herald

Christine Steele

2/3/2016

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Photo by Mark Levy

The Copper Queen Community Hospital has provided new equipment to the Cochise College nursing program for their expanded Sierra Vista campus Tuesday in Bisbee. The hospital is providing several intravenous pumps and beds. Pictured are, from left, Copper Queen Community Hospital CEO Jim Dickson, Linda Morin, hospital chief nursing officer, Jennifer Lakosil, Cochise College dean of nursing, Denise Hoyos, Cochise College Foundation executive director, and J.D. Rottweiler, Cochise College president.

Nurses at Cochise College are receiving a boon to their education thanks to Copper Queen Community Hospital.

The hospital is donating $20,000 in new equipment for the college’s new nursing labs, which will be located in the new Downtown Center campus in Sierra Vista, slated for completion this August. Health care workers in training will be able to learn in classrooms with the exact same equipment they will be using in preceptorships and in their future careers.

According to the hospital’s marketing and public relations manager, Jessica Sterusky, the equipment is currently on order by the hospital and includes 10 refurbished hospital beds, four Abbot Hospira Plum A+ IV pumps and a SIM room, which is like an intensive care unit and includes a Hill Rom Electric P1900 Total Care bed designed to assist bariatric patients and those with limited mobility.

The college’s new Downtown Center is being developed in the former Sierra Vista Regional Health Center, which was donated to the college by the Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona last year.

The new facility will increase the college’s Sierra Vista campus by 50 percent, to more than 90,000 square feet of additional space, and allows the nursing program to expand, said Jennifer Lakosil, Dean of Nursing and Allied Health at Cochise College

“Currently we have an RN program. That’s all we have the capacity for,” she explained.

The program can currently accommodate a maximum of 100 students, Lakosil said, due to space limitations. In the new facility, the nursing program will expand from 7,000 square feet to 75,000 square feet, which will allow the college to offer more pathways to nursing and accept more students.

“In the new facility, we can have a freestanding LPN program, an LPN to RN program, an RN program, and a paramedic to LPN program,” Lakosil said. “That’s something we have not been able to do because we have outgrown our space. We are hoping for approval for approximately 25 in all the other tracks. We start out low and then expand, pending outcomes with licensure, retention and job placement. This enables us to have quality versus quantity programs.”

The new equipment will come in handy in the new facility.

“We needed 10 hospital beds for the new nursing lab, one simulation bed because we are going from a two-bed to a six-bed unit (like an intensive care unit), and four IV pumps,” Lakosil said. “The pumps match the ones currently used at the Copper Queen Hospital. When our students are over there doing clinical rotations and preceptorships there, they are learning to use them. But with the donation, they will be able to train on them in our labs so that when they go to do their clinicals they are already familiar with them. I personally asked for them because we don’t have them and they are not cheap.The hospital has been very generous.”

Copper Queen’s Chief Nursing Officer, Linda Morin, said the donation is an investment in the future of nurse’s education for years to come and solidifies the strong working relationship the hospital has with the college’s nursing program.

“Copper Queen Community Hospital has been part of the nursing program at Cochise College for many years,” said hospital CEO Jim Dickson. “We train many of the students and we employ many of their graduates. When the new nursing labs open, the students will encounter the same equipment there that is used at the hospital.” College College President Dr. J.D. Rottweiler said he is grateful for the hospital’s generosity, as the partnership is critical to the success of the college’s nursing program.

“Recent studies show that 80 percent of all practicing nurses in Cochise County received their training at Cochise College,” he said. “That clearly can’t be done without the support of hospitals like the Copper Queen. The ability to train in our facility with the equipment that they will use in the hospitals is important. Our success as a college is really dependent upon our students being able to find employment. We are appreciative of Copper Queen for hiring our graduates and we hope that we are providing the things that they need as well.”

Lakosil said the college runs a top level RN program and Cochise College was rated as one of the top community colleges in the country for affordable, accessible education in a study published in the Huffington Post last year.

“It’s a big deal that people in our community can get this high-level education,” she said. “I have a passion for working at this college.”

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