Southwestern Michigan College Building $9.6-million Nursing Facility

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Southwestern Michigan College formally announces a $9.6-million expansion to its 12,047-square-foot Nursing and Health Education Building, more than doubling it to 29,086 square feet for fall 2018 classes.

This is a very crucial campaign to create the region's premier nursing program.

The Michigan Legislature has appropriated $4 million, architectural renderings have been developed with bids expected to be awarded in April 2017 for a late May 2017 groundbreaking.

The college also announces a $2.6-million major gifts initiative.

“In my 20 years here we have renovated and expanded almost every building on campus,” President Dr. David Mathews said of SMC’s largest undertaking. “Not once have we gone out seeking public support through donations.”

“We provide upward mobility to so many area residents who come here for education and to find a good-paying professional job with career advancement so they can provide for their families. That happens through SMC already. It will happen on a larger scale with this,” Mathews said.

“We’re creating a facility which matches the quality of programs we offer within.”

“We’ll continue watching every dollar we spend and we’re careful not to overbuild, but here we’re planning for growth and looking at programs like occupational therapy, physical therapy and respiratory therapy assistants,” Mathews said.

“This is a very crucial campaign to create the region’s premier nursing program, which will rival and surpass university-level facilities and instruction.” Board of Trustees Chairman Thomas Jerdon said. “Nursing has been a marquee program and this marvelous building will continue this legacy for the foreseeable future.”

New facilities will allow SMC to accept more students into specialized programs such as Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Health Information Technician (HIT), medical assisting, phlebotomy and electrocardiogram (ECG) technician in addition to RNs.

The college will be better positioned to accommodate needs of local hospitals and health care professionals who utilize SMC as a meeting and training site.

A dedicated CNA classroom will house a regional testing center for southwest Michigan and northern Indiana.

The new Nursing and Health Education Building contains eight classrooms, a 20-bed skills lab, four simulation labs replicating hospital rooms, a dedicated medical assisting classroom and student-faculty collaboration areas.

“Simulation labs nationally are partially replacing clinical instruction in hospitals and nursing homes,” Mathews said. “In a six-week rotation on a maternity ward, students may see a few children born. If they have simulation robots that can give birth, they can do it over and over again while being tested on all sorts of scenarios.”

Each simulation lab contains a SimMan mannequin capable of emulating real-life medical emergencies, such as high blood pressure, vomiting, cardiac arrest and bleeding.

SimMan can be programmed to respond in different ways, complaining of pain or being a difficult patient.

Skills labs provide students a place to practice inserting IVs, checking blood pressure and performing total-body assessments.

The average age of southwest Michigan nurses is 49, with 41 percent retiring in the next 10 years, according to The Michigan Center for Nursing.

Aging baby boomers need more medical care, so 19-percent RN job growth is forecasted through 2022 — 1.05 million job openings.

One-hundred percent of nursing and health services graduates find employment.

For more information about the project visit swmich.edu/nursing-renovations or contact Eileen Toney at (269) 782-1301 or etoney01(at)swmich(dot)edu.

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