Today’s news:

York opens new nursing lab

Officials (l.-r.) York College President Marcia Keizs; CUNY Vice Chancellor Iris Wienshall; Timothy James, a representative for state Sen. Shirley Huntley; Councilman Ruben Wills and nursing professor Emily Davidson check the vital signs of “Harvey,” one of more than 20 mannequin patients with life-like symptom responses. The mannequins are used to help students in the program with making patient diagnoses. Photo courtesy York College
TimesLedger Newspapers

York College celebrated the opening Friday of its state-of-the-art nursing lab, the first four-year nursing program offered in Queens.

“The program is designed to prepare nurses to be proficient in caring for complex patient needs in today’s technologically advanced health care arena,” said Dr. Lynee Clark, dean of York College’s School of Health and Behavioral Sciences.

The nursing program opened last September and the simulation lab has been in the works for the past four years. It received funding for construction from CUNY; Dr. William Ebenstein, dean of CUNY Health and Human Services; and a considerable $1.5 million from Borough President Helen Marshall.

The simulation lab is a high-tech facility designed to mock the environment of a hospital. The lab contains five units — a nursing home unit, a maternity unit, a pediatric unit, an acute care unit and a critical care unit — just like a regular hospital would.

City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) said the program is going to open a doorway for a lot of people in southeast Queens.

“It gives York College an opportunity to increase its enrollment with driven-minded individuals and ties in junior high school and high school students who are aspiring to pursue careers in the health care industry,” he said.

Nursing students get to practice treating patients on mannequins that simulate people with real health concerns.

“These are life-like patient simulators. We can create scenarios of a patient who’s in need without the stress of a real patient whose life might be at stake,” said Joanne Lavin, director of the Nursing Program at the college.

The mannequins, called high-fidelity and low-fidelity simulators, are able to mimic patients who are in shook or have problems like high blood pressure, stroke or other illnesses for the students to treat and study.

“The students love it, they love to talk to them,” said Lavin, “they are very realistic.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics reports that the health care industry added more than 400,000 jobs throughout the 18-month recession period and, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, a nursing shortage is “expected to intensify as baby boomers age and the need for health care grows.”

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