Healthcare Students Receive Real-World Experience Without Leaving Campus

Bismarck State College awarded grant to help fund their simulation lab

Every fall, Bismarck State College ushers in a new semester where they have almost 400 students enrolled every year in their Health Sciences programs. Bismarck State College's Health Sciences programs include Nursing, EMT/Paramedic Technology, Surgical Technology, Medical Lab Technician and Certified Nursing Assistant. In North Dakota there's a shortage of these professions among various other healthcare related jobs.

For a state that's in dire need for highly-trained healthcare professionals, Bismarck State College knew they had to take the necessary steps to support the development of North Dakota's healthcare workforce. 

Through a partnership with the BCBSND Caring Foundation, Bismarck State College was able to increase their enrollment and integrate state-of-the-art health equipment and technology into its curriculum.

"BSC Foundation greatly appreciates the support of the BCBSND Caring Foundation," says Kari Knudson, Executive Director of the Bismarck State College Foundation. "The whole goal of the project was to expand our space, add more capabilities and enhance equipment and offerings so that we'd have the best trained workforce as possible."

An investment in their students  

Bismarck State College wanted to provide their students with experience and knowledge that would allow them to enter the workforce without skipping a beat. In doing so, they've been using a simulation lab to emulate a real patient experience and build their students practical skills.

"We were very focused on trying to create a space that looked like what our students would be seeing in the healthcare setting," says Annie Paulson, Nursing Program Director of Bismarck State College.

Now, Bismarck State College students can receive hands-on learning before they graduate.

Practice makes perfect

With an expanded simulation center, Bismarck State College students can now have interactions with patients without leaving campus. This includes their pediatrics simulation room which has a mannequin that serves as a real-life patient.

"The pediatrics sim room has a pediatric patient in it and having that there to practice when we actually do get an opportunity is really cool because we are able to learn how to use our communication differently, and how to adapt from caring for an adult versus a child," says Ari Weil, Nursing student at Bismarck State College.

This type of experience help students immensely. From day one after graduation they can bring real-world practice and knowledge to the workforce.

"BSC wants their students to not only provide outstanding patient care to the benefit of all North Dakota citizens, but to know and understand the invaluable contribution they are making to our society, helping all of us and our loved ones in hospitals, clinics and ambulances when we most need it," says Knudson. "They want their students to leave the college having knowledge and experience to jump right into the workforce, so they can provide for themselves and their families, gaining economic mobility to achieve their dreams and lead fulfilled lives."

There may be a healthcare workforce shortage in North Dakota, but Bismarck State College is taking the appropriate steps to alleviate it.