There is a nationwide crisis in nursing. There are not nearly enough professionals available to fill all the openings in hospitals, clinics and doctors offices. It is a problem the medical industry has been aware of for a while, and it is a problem the Payson Regional Medical Center is facing head-on.
The hospital will hold a grand opening from 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesday for the Gracie Lee Haught Education Resource Center.
The plans for the center began in July 2006, according to Lynn Sommars, director of education for PRMC. Doors opened Oct. 1 for the students enrolled in the fall term's nursing classes at Gila Community College. It provides a place for the aspiring nurses to train in skills they will need for their clinical competencies at the hospital.
Practicing nurses also use the education center to enhance skills and prepare for career advancement testing. It is also being used by area fire departments for emergency medical training.
"It is just what Payson needs," Sommars said.
Gracie Lee Haught Education Resource Center of Payson Regional Medical Center grand openingWhen: Wednesday, April 25; Ribbon-cutting ceremony set for 2 p.m., open house from 2 to 6 p.m.Where: 803 S. Ponderosa, Suite A, Payson.Call: RSVP to (928) 472-1275
She recently visited the center during an advanced cardiac life support class. "It was wonderful. Every computer was in use."
She said the facility's tools reduce the down time -- while some students are making use of the computers, others are using the mannequins to practice. The mannequins include an adult model and an infant model. The adult unit was provided by the college and the infant model was donated to the center by the Gracie Haught Foundation, administered by the Mogollon Health Alliance.
The facility has five clinic rooms for practice, a large lecture area and a computer room. There are also plenty of actual medical materials to help enhance skill training and test preparation, Sommars said. "I'm so excited about the center. This has made my job so much easier."
Sommars said she is very thankful for the support of PRMC CEO Chris Wolf, the Mogollon Health Alliance and the Gracie Haught Foundation.
Both Sommars and Bill Neal, who teaches the nursing courses at Gila Community College, will be on hand at the open house to talk to anyone who might be considering a nursing career.
They will be able to tell those interested about how to get started. Sommars will also have information for the PRMC Volunteen Program for those 14 and older.
"We're very excited about it," Neal said of the education center at PRMC. "All my sophomore, junior and senior nursing students use it."
He has 14 people already enrolled in his freshman nursing class for the fall.
"It's a good number for us. It is about the most that can be accommodated in clinicals at PRMC," he said.
The students meet at the center before going to the hospital to do their clinical work and then return afterward to discuss what they learned, Neal said.
"The biggest benefit of the center is that it provides us with a facility to practice and fine tune our nursing skills," he said.
Because the center was a doctor's office before the conversion, it has exam rooms and hospital beds very similar to those in which the student will do their work after graduation.
Having the facility in Payson is a benefit to Neal's CNAs who will be able to take the state test at the center, instead of traveling out of the area.
"It is great to see the community support for this. It is very valuable to our future and current health care employees," Neal said.
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