Galveston College’s first year nursing students recently participated in various community activities


Galveston College’s first year nursing students recently participated in various community activities, including the 2017 D’Feet Breast Cancer event, the 2017 Walk to End Alzheimers and the Wings Over Houston Air Show.

Students at the First Aid Area at the Galveston 2017 D’Feet Breast Cancer event.

Pictured from left are Liliana Rodriquez, Lizette Osorio, Mary Cruz-Gutierrez, Christianne Witt, Stephon Lampkins, Kristin Radzieski and Broaderick Brown.

Students at the First Aid Area at the Galveston 2017 Walk to End Alzheimers Event October 14.

Pictured from left are nursing student Melvin Senegal, Katherine Cleveland, Associate Degree Nursing Instructor Vicki Jernigan, nursing student Julie Butler and Alain Cruz. Not pictured are Mary Stewart and Kristen Peck.

Students at the First Aid Areas at the 2017 Wings Over Houston Air Show Event October 20 and 21 working in collaboration with the UTMB Aerospace Medicine Medical Coordinators.

Pictured from left are William Schneider, Joseph Butler, Isabella Arcidiacono, John Moreno, Mary Stewart, Kathryn Rodriquez, Ashley Honeycutt, Devin Reyes, and Melvin Senegal.

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Lee cuts ribbon on expanded nursing complex

Funded through bond approved in 2013, expansion project completed on time & on budget

Lee College cuts ribbon on McNulty-Haddick Nursing Complex Expansion
Lee College administrators, Nursing Program faculty and nursing students gather in the new lecture hall inside the McNulty-Haddick Nursing Complex Expansion during a ribbon cutting and open house held Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. The expansion project was funded through a bond approved by voters in 2013 and focused on meeting student and faculty needs, including new classrooms and a new student lounge and computer area.

BAYTOWN, TX — Students in the Lee College Nursing Program now have a renovated and revamped facility on campus to train and prepare for rewarding careers on the front lines of patient-centered health care – complete with new spaces to learn and practice critical professional skills, and connect with classmates and instructors.

Lee College administrators, students and faculty came together Tuesday, Oct. 24, with members of the Board of Regents and local health care community to cut the ribbon on the McNulty-Haddick Nursing Complex Expansion, which was funded through a $40 million bond overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2013. The project was completed on time and came in just under its original $6 million budget.

“We know how important nurses are; they’re essential to health care. Nurses are where the rubber meets the road,” said Pete Alfaro, chairman of the Board of Regents, in thanking citizens for supporting the bond referendum that made the expansion possible. “Property taxes, student tuition and fees and state funding do not cover everything. We are grateful for what the community did for us. We want to give every student and faculty member at Lee College the very best.”

At the expanded McNulty-Haddick Complex, there is a new lecture hall that seats 105 students; additional classrooms that can also be used for lab spaces and give faculty and students a variety of ways to interact and enhance instruction; and a new lounge, computer area and outside patio for students to connect with each other and review materials in close proximity to their classrooms and labs.

The Clinical Lab and Simulation Center inside the complex – a replicated hospital setting where students practice their professional skills with high-fidelity mannequins that sweat, bleed and even give birth – has been expanded to add an area dedicated specifically to pediatric care. Through a donation to the Lee College Foundation and grant funding from the state’s Nursing Innovation Grant Program, the Clinical Lab and Simulation Center have also received new mannequins, supplies and equipment that will allow faculty to teach clinical application in each nursing course throughout the program curriculum.

“This project focused on fulfilling the needs of nursing students, faculty and staff,” said Dr. Tracy Allen, director of the Nursing Program. A Lee College alumna herself with more than 20 years of experience in the field, she praised the previous nursing directors — many of whom attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony — who taught her how to be a professional and set the solid foundation upon which the program continues to build today.

“We share that same commitment to student success and to the nursing profession,” Allen said. “Lee College nursing graduates are some of the best nurses I know.”

With a strong reputation for its challenging and relevant curriculum that prepares students for the realities of modern health care, the Lee College Nursing Program emphasizes practical experience. From their first semester, students are required to spend time in both traditional classes and the laboratory and hands-on clinical environment. They are also encouraged to become lifelong learners and continue their education beyond the associate degree.

Since the expansion of the nursing complex was completed, students have particularly enjoyed using the lounge area to hold study groups and unwind together from the rigors of their coursework.

“We want to express our gratitude. Your financial resources have been to good use,” said Danyel Browder, a Level 3 student and president of the Lee College Nursing Students Association, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This new addition has made us really proud to say we are nursing students at Lee College.”

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Student Success Story, Polysomnography at Alvin College

Kaitlin McClurg wasn’t sure about her career. She did know she wanted a profession in the medical career. The Bridger, Mont., native received an associate degree at a Wyoming college but wanted to further her education.

Kaitlin McClurg

Kaitlin McClurg moved from Montana to Alvin, Texas, to study in ACC’s polysomnography program.

“I wanted to try something totally new,” she said.

Searching the Internet, McClurg found several options, but became fixated on a field called “polysomnography” – the study of sleep medicine.

“It’s something that not a lot of people know about,” she said.

McClurg found the best program was at Alvin Community College. She packed her bags and moved to Alvin to join the program. McClurg said ACC was her best option because it accepted the majority of her courses from her previous college. ACC also is preparing her well for the workforce. She is planning to graduate in May.

“It’s been a great program,” she said. “We definitely get a lot of hands-on training. They keep us very busy here. I’ve had much more experience than I felt I would ever get somewhere else.”

McClurg is one of many students drawn to the ACC polysomongraphy program because so few colleges in the United States offer it. Polysomnography is the study of sleep disorders. Graduates help with the treatment and diagnosis of the causes of conditions like narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and insomnia. ACC is the first college in Texas to offer a Polysomnography degree and is one of only 16 to offer it in the United States.

Polysomnography technicians are in huge demand in the workforce, said Georgette Goodwill, ACC program director. ACC graduates have a high job placement rate after receiving their degree, she said.

“All of the students in this graduating class of the Polysomnography Program will have jobs waiting for them upon passing their national registry exam,” said Goodwill.

McClurg is a great example of the many students who excel in the Polysomnography field, Goodwill said.

“Kaitlin has been an excellent student who shows great potential as a Sleep Technologist,” she said. “She has adapted well to the Texas heat and humidity – which is quite a change from the weather in Montana.”

While she is looking forward to graduating and using her education to help patients, McClurg plans to join the Neurodiagnostic Technologist program. Students with Polysomnography and Neurodiagnostic degrees are even more marketable when looking for a job.

“I want to get further ahead,” McClurg said.

Surgical Technology – Real World Training in an Innovative Field

Surgical technologists, or operating room technicians, work during surgical operations under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, and other surgical personnel in all three phases of patient care: preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative case management. A surgical tech job description includes preparing surgical equipment, supplies and medications; passing instruments to surgeons and assistants; operating sterilizers and lights; preparing specimens for lab analysis; and transporting patients to and from surgery. Surgical technologist jobs require the ability to work quickly and accurately. Most surgical activities are carried out during the day, but they sometimes occur during the night shift, or you may need to work on short notice in case of emergency.

Surgical Tech – An Interesting and Life-Saving Career

Constant breakthroughs in surgical technology make for innovative careers for surgical tech. There are different career options with immediate impact on patients’ lives. Many become technical specialists and go into specialized practices such as ophthalmology, neurosurgery or orthopedics. They can work in hospitals as well as ambulatory surgical centers, clinics and physician’s offices. Others decide to work for surgical equipment companies and help distribute the most innovative surgical supplies and medications around the world.

Surgical technologist careers have a bright outlook as healthcare demand continues to growth. Similar to emergency medical services careers, employment is projected to grow by 30% from 2012 to 2022, with a current median pay of $41,790 annually (BLS). Advances in medical technology enable treatment of a variety of illnesses and injuries and call for more surgical technologists to alleviate pain and extend the lives of millions of people.

Hands-on Learning Environment at Gulf Coast Community Colleges

Students must obtain an accredited surgical technology certificate prior to taking the surgical technologist credentialing exam. With a nine-to-twelve-month certificate program, Gulf Coast community colleges provide students an opportunity to train in a realistic, hands-on working environment. Besides lectures, the curriculum emphasizes mock surgery under supervision in actual operating room situations.

Realistic operating environments will enable quick reactions in case of emergency and a stable temperament when working with unpleasant sights, odors and hazardous materials. Frequent practices in such technical settings allow students to become detail oriented, patient, as well as sensitive to the needs of both patients and surgical teams. Additionally, students will be introduced to the latest advances in medical technology, including computers, lasers, fiber optics, electronics and robotics. This all gives students a bigger picture of how surgical tech jobs can help individuals all over the world and make a positive impact on society.

Surgical technologists can create a difference in patients’ lives and make a valuable contribution to society. Visit our surgical technology page for available programs and member colleges to get your hands-on learning experience.

As Baby Boomers Age, Cardiopulmonary Healthcare Jobs Demand Increases

Within the next five years, 76 million baby boomers or one-fifth of the entire U.S. population will begin to turn 75, hitting the age of chronic diseases and extensive healthcare treatments. As a result, there is an increasing demand for medical assistants and medical technologists in the next few years. At Gulf Coast Community Colleges, we offer a wide range of associate programs in the healthcare field. Each of them targets a particular demand, such as dental hygienists, medical lab technicians, or cardiopulmonary technicians, and each requires different skills sets and interests from students.
If you’re interested in studying the cardiopulmonary system – the heart, lungs, and veins – and working with the newest medical technology, you might find cardiopulmonary jobs very fascinating. Healthcare jobs opportunities in the field include: cardiovascular technologist, respiratory care therapist, and cardiac/telemetry technician.

Cardiopulmonary Jobs Outlook

The demand for cardiopulmonary treatment is going up. As baby boomers age, heart and lung diseases are among the most common and life-threatening chronic illnesses that require regular therapy and rehabilitation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 600,000 Americans die from heart disease every year, which makes it the leading cause of death in the U.S.

The jobs for which we provide training offer a balanced blend of knowledge about heart and lung function, medical technology, and personal interaction with patients. Different from purely technical career technologist, respiratory therapist jobs or cardiac/telemetry technicians will go beyond operating medical equipment to interact and take care of patients on a personal level.

Finally, similar to other healthcare jobs, cardiopulmonary jobs are generally well-paid. With an associate degree, you can begin with median wages of $24 to $28 hourly. Cardiac/telemetry technicians can earn more, with an average of $37 per hour.

Cardiovascular Technologist, Respiratory Therapist or Cardiac/Telemetry Technician?

All cardiopulmonary jobs focus on performing tests and operating therapeutic equipment, but the degree of technological involvement and patient interaction vary among position.

If you prefer working purely with technology, cardiovascular technologist is probably the right choice for you. This position mainly focuses on conducting tests for diagnostic purposes. You will run tests like electrocardiograms and cardiac catheterizations to determine pulmonary functions and lung capacity.

If you are more interested in interacting with patients, then cardiac/telemetry technician and respiratory therapist jobs might be good fits. While the former treats patients in critical care units, the latter provides temporary relief to patients with chronic asthma or emphysema, as well as emergency care to patients who are victims of a heart attack, stroke, drowning or shock.

Even though some employers only require a high school diploma and provide on-the-job training, candidates without an official degree are likely to earn less than average and take longer to move up. However, with a two-year associate degree program at one of the Gulf Coast Community Colleges, you will learn how to operate technologically advanced equipment. At the same time, you can improve your written and verbal communication skills to ensure clear understanding between physicians, you, and patients. Apply for an associate degree in cardiopulmonary now to have better career advancement opportunities in the healthcare jobs market.

Dental Hygienist – Future Outlook, Desired Skills and Education

If you are interested in dentistry, yet you think time and money are your restraints from getting an education, you might want to consider a dental assistant or dental hygienist job. Dental assistants play a support role for a dentist, and dental hygienists work directly with patients to provide preventative dental care and advice. Both can play important roles with every single patient by developing trusting relationships and providing valuable dental services. Best of all, a two-year associate degree qualifies you to go to work!

Job Outlook for Dental Hygienists

With an increasing awareness about the link between oral health and overall health, people tend to visit dental hygienists for oral health check-ups and preventative dental care advice more regularly. Therefore, there has been a growing demand for dental hygienist jobs in the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job demand will increase 33 percent by 2022, making it one of the fastest-growing careers. Additionally, salaries for dental hygienists are very competitive, with an average hourly wage of $35.87 or an annual income of more than $74,000. Most dental hygienists can also work flexible hours, either full-time or part-time for a few days a week.

Responsibilities and Desired Skills for a Dental Hygienist:

Dental hygienists perform a variety of tasks from dental care and oral health education to office activities:

  • Perform screening procedures: assessment of oral health conditions, including health history, oral cancer, head and neck inspection, review of blood pressure and pulse
  • Take and develop dental X-rays
  • Clean teeth and apply preventive materials such as sealants and fluorides
  • Educate patients about daily preventative dental care as well as the impact of good nutrition on oral health
  • Complete other administrative tasks

Besides technical expertise, dental hygienists should develop strong interpersonal skills such as communication, flexibility and creativity:

  • Communication: Besides performing technical healthcare services, dental hygienists talk with people from different backgrounds to educate them on daily dental care. Additionally, they will have opportunities to work with special groups such as children, the disabled, and the elderly.
  • Flexibility: Dental hygienists sometimes work into the evening or during weekends. They can also be hired to perform services in other settings such as schools, rural communities, or even private home visits.
  • Creativity: Since dental hygienists work with such diverse groups and in various settings, it is important that they find different ways to approach patients and deliver their services.

Dental Hygienist Associate Degree Program: Start a Career or Prepare for Higher Education

While many four-year schools offer undergraduate and graduate degree in dental hygiene, you can typically save much time and money by obtaining an associate degree in dental hygiene with one of the TGCCCC member schools. After two years focusing on relevant coursework, a graduate can obtain a dental hygiene license to start practicing in any dental office. Another option would be to transfer credits and continue with the bachelor’s degree or pursue dental school. Whichever the option you choose, a two-year degree in dental hygiene would not only give you hands-on experience in dentistry services, but also help you pay for higher education by working in the industry for a few years.

If you are interested in pursuing a dental hygiene job, you can start to learn more about our associate degree programs offered by the Texas Gulf Coast Community Colleges.

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