SimMan to debut at CNCC

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Story at a glance

• SimMan, an electronic simulated patient, is scheduled to arrive at Colorado Northwestern Community College Craig campus within a month's time.

• Can be programmed for a variety of illnesses and medical emergencies, including cardiac arrest.

• Costs about $76,000 and will be paid for by program that collects donations for college.

• Will allow nursing students to earn up to 15 percent of clinical experience without hospital placement.

An upcoming addition to Colorado Northwestern Community College that's gathering attention isn't a teacher or a student.

It's a machine.

Not just any machine, though.

In SimMan, an electronic patient simulator, gives nursing students experiences they may not get in their clinical experiences in local hospitals.

SimMan can be programmed to show a spectrum of illnesses and medical emergencies, including cardiac arrest. And, if a nursing student makes a mistake, such as giving a medicinal overdose, SimMan reacts in much the same way a flesh-and-blood patient would.

"It's a very sophisticated piece of equipment," said Gene Bilodeau, CNCC Craig campus dean.

SimMan comes with a price tag: about $76,000. Funds raised through CNCC's Major Gifts Campaign will pay for the simulator. The program allows local businesses, alumni and groups from outside of the area to donate to the college.

But, the new piece of equipment also will give back to the college, allowing students to obtain a portion of their required clinical experience hours without spending time at a hospital.

"Currently, one of the biggest problems we have is getting clinical placements for our students," Bilodeau said.

But, with the simulator, nursing students can complete up to 15 percent of their clinical studies without getting hospital placements.

SimMan was ordered two weeks ago, and Bilodeau estimated the college would receive it within a month's time.

CNCC board supports

Amendment 50

John Boyd, Colorado Northwestern Community College president, isn't much into gambling.

He once took $100 with him to Las Vegas, Nev. once. After spending $6 of his cache, he decided to quit.

"It was tired of it," he said. "I don't have fun losing money."

Still, a proposed amendment redistributing the tax revenue from Colorado gaming operations has stoked his enthusiasm.

Amendment 50 allows voters in Central City, Black Hawk and Cripple Creek communities the choice to extend casino hours and increase maximum single bets to $100.

The amendment would also allow those communities to adjust distributions to entities that currently receive gaming fund proceeds, leaving 78 percent of the leftover gaming tax revenue to community colleges.

At the end of five years, CNCC could bring in between $1 million and $2 million annually, Boyd said - money that it could use for student financial aid and classroom instruction.

At its monthly meeting Monday night, the CNCC Craig campus' board of control also decided to endorse the amendment.

And, they aren't the only ones.

So far, Rangely and the CNCC college district has jumped aboard, as has the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership, Boyd said, adding that the Craig Chamber of Commerce also is considering supporting the amendment.

Ultimately, however, voters will be the ones to decide whether the amendment will pass in November.

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