POWELL, Wyo. — Nursing health care and education in the Big Horn Basin got a major boost recently when West Park Hospital and Powell Valley Healthcare collaborated to support nursing facilities in Northwest College’s new Yellowstone Building.
With support from the two Park County health care providers, the nursing area in the Yellowstone Building will feature a state-of-the-art simulation center with high-fidelity manikins for pediatric, obstetrical and adult care to replicate hospital situations.
NWC students and working nurses alike will soon be able to replicate real-life hospital experiences, rehearsing for the unforeseen complications and adrenaline rush that can add panic to life and death situations.
West Park Hospital committed $100,000 for the Adult Simulation Room, and Powell Valley Healthcare will contribute $75,000 for the Obstetrics Simulation Room.
“This is not only an investment in Northwest College,” Doug McMillan, CEO of West Park Hospital District, said, “it’s an investment in us. With roughly 70 percent of our nursing staff holding degrees from NWC, we recognize the better the nursing education is at NWC, the better our nursing care is at West Park.”
Powell Valley Healthcare (PVHC) has a longstanding and supportive relationship with the NWC Nursing Program. CEO Bill Patten said his organization is “proud to support the new Yellowstone construction project at Northwest College. PVHC relies heavily on the nursing graduates of NWC to provide care for our patients and residents. This building will enhance the college’s ability to prepare highly skilled nurses. Our contribution to this project is a very tangible expression of the longstanding partnership between our organizations.”
The simulation center will also be available to current nurses for recertification in specialty fields and to provide exposure to infrequent emergent care patient scenarios.
In addition to the simulation lab, space has been allocated in the Yellowstone Building for emergency training at multiple levels, as well as allied health coursework in needed areas such as phlebotomy and radiology. The expanded curriculum also provides for presentations by outside experts to benefit faculty, students and community health care providers alike.
“This kind of collaboration and vision,” NWC President Stefani Hicswa said, “is what makes our little corner of Wyoming so outstanding. These are major, very generous gifts, especially from nonprofit organizations. Northwest College students and everyone who utilizes health care services in Park County will benefit.”
The Yellowstone Building is scheduled to be ready when NWC classes start in August. The 47,000-square-foot building will house nursing, allied health, criminal justice and law enforcement education programs, along with a community conference center to accommodate workforce training programs, conferences, community events and larger-venue demands. It will also be home to the Communication Program and the Social Science and Education Division.
Funding was provided in large part by the Wyoming Legislature, which contributed $9.3 million toward construction. The college partnered with the NWC Foundation to raise the remaining $3.4 million of the $12.7 million project in a multifaceted approach that utilizes college reserves, a fundraising campaign and revenue generated by a new student credit hour fee.
Courtesy Photo: Dave Bonner/Powell Tribune