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Allied Health Programs Benefit from Webster Scholarship

Submitted by on July 8, 2011 – 10:54 am

Thanks to a grant from the Webster Family Fund through the Essex County Community Foundation, students in NECC’s allied health programs will soon be able to practice their blood drawing skills with a virtual phlebotomy system before progressing to practice on lab partners and real patients.

With the virtual phlebotomy system, students practice drawing blood by inserting needles into a device that accurately simulates the same feeling the students would have when collecting blood specimens from a person, and then they see the results on the computer screen. The virtual patients respond with different reactions based on the student’s interaction with the device – such as bruising, bleeding, or vein collapse – providing students with a virtual reality. The system features 3-D graphics, various case scenarios and different patient types (adult, child, etc.).

It provides instant feedback, tracks the learner’s progress, and focuses on learning objectives. “From our previous work with experiential learning using simulators in our other labs, we know how much our students benefit from being able to use this type of technology while in a safe learning environment. Their self-confidence just soars, and this carries over into their ability to function as competent , entry level phlebotomists when they go to clinical. Patient care is enhanced, and this is a goal not only for the college, but also our clinical agency educational partner as well,” says Jackie Long-Goding, dean of health professions at NECC.

The new system is expected to be in place before the end of the spring semester.