NPC receives equipment donation from Baptist Health

Some of the state-of-the-art equipment used in the health care programs at National Park College is shown. Baptist Health Urgent Care has donated two IV beds, a wheelchair and a phlebotomy chair for the programs at NPC. – Photo by Lance Porter of The Sentinel-Record

National Park College's Nursing and Health Sciences program received a donation of health care equipment from Baptist Health Urgent Care last month.

The donation of two IV beds and a wheelchair are valued at more than $4,400, according to a news release. A phlebotomy chair was also donated, which will be used in the phlebotomy program.

Baptist Health Urgent Care's move to the old MedExpress Urgent Care building on Central Avenue is what led to the donation, NPC Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences Janice Ivers said. There were a few pieces of equipment Baptist Health didn't need anymore, so Payton Givens, the director of operations for Baptist Health, suggested donating them.

"We wanted to be able to donate those to somebody that was gonna use them, rather than just have somebody haul them off and them not go to good use," Givens said.

Although the IV beds are smaller than regular hospital beds, Ivers told Givens "absolutely, we could use those," she said.

"Those were items they no longer are gonna need or they're a little bit outdated, they're still working," she said. "You know, one man's trash is another man's treasure, so we said, 'Yes.' And we haven't yet processed everything to get it in and settled where we really want the items, but we're working on it."

Givens asked around the company about donating the items, and one of the nurse practitioners, Karson Henry, as well as Christine Dwyer helped her in the decision to donate the items to NPC, she said.

"I thought that was a wonderful idea because I didn't really know what place would actually take them that could actually use them, and (Henry) recommended to reach out to Janice and see if they would be interested in acquiring the items for use for the students," Givens said.

"We can't do this without our community partners, and so I do consider (Baptist Health Urgent Care) a partner in raising up our next generation of health care workers," Ivers said.

"And the lives that they touch with just one thing because not only have they touched the nursing program, they've touched our MLT, they've touched our adult education program, they touched our radiology technology program last year, and so this (is) ongoing. And then you think about the number of students that are gonna utilize this equipment, it's just exponentially overwhelming to think of the number of lives that are being educated through the equipment that other people donate. So, we're very thankful for them," she said.

"I really hope it just gives a chance for more people to practice different things throughout their college years, and nursing, radiology, or whatever program that they're in," Givens said. "I just really hope it gives a better variety of people, maybe even to be able to do multiple things at one time. You know, if one person is lying on a bed, drawing blood or practicing starting an IV or anything like that, well at this point, maybe two people could be doing it at the same time. And maybe it will just be better for the classroom as well as the instructors."

With 70 to 90 incoming RN students and around 50 incoming practical nursing program students every year, "It takes a lot to educate," Ivers said.

"Our goal, because we are in a nursing shortage, you know, nationwide, there's a nursing shortage, but our goal is always, here at National Park, is to increase our enrollment, continue the quality education," she said. "Extra equipment is always very expensive. For a new hospital bed, you're looking at thousands of dollars. And fortunately, Baptist Health, they've donated other equipment to us, very significant equipment to us in the past, as has CHI and National Park Medical Center.

"But, when I get those calls, as long as it's something that we're able to utilize, we take it because it does take a village to get the students educated and out in the workforce, and part of that village is having the proper equipment. And we want them to train on the equipment that's being used in the hospital, too, so that they're ready to use it when they get out."

One reason equipment can be so expensive for programs such as NPC's nursing and health sciences program is the process of replacing outdated equipment, even if it works properly. Training students with up-to-date equipment is very important, Ivers said.

"I've been a nurse for 40 years, and so the equipment that I learned on is not the equipment that I saw five years after, 10 years after and certainly not the equipment that is currently in use," she said.

"And so, that is a constant expense and a juggling act. There are seven programs that I'm over, and making sure that our students have current, state-of-the-art equipment -- the IV pumps are little computers, and so they've gotta know how to use that stuff because as soon as they graduate, they're gonna be expected to utilize that."