Clark Regional donation helps get BCTC nursing lab up and running

Published 9:55 am Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The 30 registered nursing students who comprise the inaugural class at the Winchester campus of Bluegrass Community and Technical College will have a fully stocked lab to hone their skills, thanks partly to Clark Regional Medical Center.

The hospital recently donated four large beds to the college’s new nursing simulation lab.

“With our partnership with Clark Regional Medical Center – they are good community partners – and we said, ‘Okay, we got approved to add the nursing program to Winchester, but there is a problem, we don’t have all the equipment,’” said campus director Bruce Manley. “They said, ‘We will help you.’ Matt Smith (Clark Regional’s CEO) over at the hospital, he did a lot of work and found us four hospital beds.”

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Manley said that the donation helped ensure that the lab would be up and running for classes starting in the fall. In addition, the hospital also donated food so that students will have a nice hot meal to enjoy between classes and study sessions.

The lab has all the beds, tables, chairs, cabinets, and medical instruments that one would find in a standard hospital room.

“We want to get the simulation lab as close to the hospital setting as possible to make sure that the students are trained in the right way,” Manley said.

They also feature some technological marvels that will serve as teaching tools.

BCTC purchased mannequins that will simulate as close to a human being as technology will allow. Students will be able to take blood pressure readings on the mannequins and give them a catheter.

“These mannequins will actually breathe – you can see their chest moving up and down – and they also blink their eyes. They are very, very sophisticate mannequins,” Manley said.

Like any necessary training tool, the mannequins were an expensive item to purchase. Still, Manley said that the college could afford them thanks to years of donations from the community.

The registered nursing program is an investment for the community and the hospital.

“It is huge for our community. It is going to provide good-paying jobs for our students. Those jobs will also lead into careers at Clark Regional Medical Center,” Manley said.

The Program

BCTC Winchester is now the third campus in the college system to offer an associate degree in nursing. The other two are the Leestown Rd. campus in Lexington and the campus in Lawrenceburg.

The program takes two years to complete, and the admissions process is selective.

“The students do need to be at the top of their class to get in,” Manley said. “We’ve got more students trying to apply to nursing school than what we have spots open … You have to have a high GPA and high test scores to get in.”

At the end of the program, students will sit for the NCLEX exam, and once they pass their certifications, they will be fully licensed registered nurses. They will then be able to work at a hospital or medical facility.

According to the college’s website, the average salary for a registered nurse is over $50,000 a year.

Manley said that BCTC has some of the most affordable tuition in Kentucky and that students with a high school degree and no prior advanced degrees could attend the program free with a Kentucky Work Ready Scholarship – more information about it can be found online at www.workreadykentucky.com.

Anyone interested in the program is encouraged to visit www.bluegrass.kctcs.edu for more information.