Students in the UAA Paramedic Program and Nursing Program participated in an interdisciplinary simulation involving an active shooter incident at a Women’s Health Center on the Mat-Su College campus. The event was the semester’s final scenario-based practical exam for the paramedic students who demonstrated their knowledge of mass casualty incident management, triage, trauma care and maternal and newborn care, including complications of childbirth and neonatal resuscitation. Nursing students from the Matanuska-Susitna College outreach cohort volunteered to provide additional support and add realism to the simulated healthcare setting. The project was a joint effort between School of Nursing, EMS Training and Education, and the College of Health’s newly appointed simulation network coordinator, Lisa Behrens.
“The focus on simulation moves us into the future of healthcare education, as it provides a safe environment for students to practice in high-acuity/high-stress patient care situations,” said Behrens. “This vision and work by the COH ultimately improve patient safety and outcomes in real-world healthcare situations our graduates will face in their future careers,” she added.
Simulation involving nursing and paramedic students is not new to the Mat-Su campus. Associate Professor of Nursing Dorothy Kinley, RN, MS, and Assistant Professor of Paramedical Technology Dane Wallace, NRP, have coordinated on several occasions to produce realistic simulations that emphasize the collaborative nature of modern healthcare. “We have a good relationship between the programs, and the students have found the collaborative simulations beneficial. It promotes the type of interdisciplinary collaboration that is a must in today’s healthcare environment.” Kinley said. The two are planning additional interdisciplinary learning opportunities going forward.
Throughout the course of our daily lives we depend on the skills and services of others. From bookkeepers, nursing aides, and security personnel to welders, small engine repair, and heavy equipment mechanics, Alaska thrives when there is a dedicated workforce that serves our communities.
You may be surprised to learn that these jobs require some form of post-secondary training, which can be earned through the University of Alaska (UA), now at a reduced tuition rate.
UA is cutting tuition on select occupational programs and career and technical education (CTE) courses by 25 percent. The discount applies to 50 programs and more than 300 courses at all three universities including community campuses. Eligible programs range from pharmacy technology to welding and mine mechanics; many courses can be taken online to accommodate employed Alaskans looking to refresh skills or embark on a new career.
The university is the No. 1 provider of workforce development programs in the state, and training a skilled workforce to meet the state’s needs is one of UA’s top goals. While UA’s tuition is low compared to peer universities in the western United States, its tuition for CTE programs has been considered to be high compared to community college systems Outside.
“It’s (the middle of) summer, but students seeking higher education are making plans for fall. The university’s new Alaska College of Education aims to train more state residents to take teaching jobs here. The idea is to keep good teachers in rural Alaska communities.”
So began a round-robin discussion on July 24, when President Jim Johnsen and College of Education Executive Dean Steve Atwater joined host Lori Townsend on Alaska Public Radio Network’s Talk of Alaska to discuss the university’s goal to recruit and educate more teachers. The discussion also included Kameron Perez-Verdia, president/CEO of Alaska Humanities Forum.
“What precipitated [the Alaska College of Education] was the regents’ recognition that this is a critically important issue and our challenges…You are looking at the single most important job in our state,” Johnsen said.
Alaska faces a range of obstacles as the university endeavors to educate more Alaska teachers. Currently 70 percent of teachers hired each year for Alaska school districts come from outside the state and turnover, especially in rural Alaska, is as high as 50 percent annually. Teachers who come to rural Alaska from outside the state are often unprepared to understand cultural differences and infrastructure challenges, and the effects of decades of trauma from forced assimilation and abuse of Alaska Native students in schools are still present. The effects of these obstacles are costly, both in the financial cost of constant teacher recruitment and the impact to students who witness teachers regularly cycling in and out of their schools.
School is out for the summer, but camp is in! Teens from across the state recently gathered on UAA’s campus for Recruiting and Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing’s (RRANN) Camp, an intensive three-day experience introducing them to the world of health care and nursing.