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With Sen. Mark R. Warner, TCC presents the Regional Health Professions Center

With United States Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Tidewater Community College dedicated its Regional Health Professions Center (RHPC) on the Virginia Beach Campus at 11 a.m. on Jan. 23.

Driving healthcare education to new frontiers of clinical learning in simulated, high-tech medical settings, the 65,000 square-foot, three-story facility will serve thousands of students each year.

“Experiential learning – with the latest technology and advanced medical simulation – is the hallmark of TCC’s Regional Health Professions Center,” says TCC President Deborah M. DiCroce. The center marries science and technology with hands-on diagnostic learning.

“This state-of-the-art center immerses students in a learning environment that is virtually identical to what they will see in the workplace,” explains DiCroce. “We are integrating the most current technology with the most rigorous training in education in the health profession disciplines – those that are so critical to the region’s healthcare delivery and economic growth.” TCC trained more than 13,000 students in its 15 health profession specialties in the past two years alone.

Sen. Warner praised DiCroce for her vision and willingness to “go first” with new ideas and innovative initiatives, crafting partnerships that help meet workforce and student needs. Regarding the critical value of the RHPC, he noted that 50 percent of nurses and 80 percent of EMTs are being trained at community colleges.

Launching the RHPC couldn’t be more timely. The need for allied health professionals in the region is expected to grow by 18.7 percent by 2018 – with more than 8,000 job openings (Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc.). In Hampton Roads, 1 in 12 people work in healthcare (Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance, JobsEQ, 2011).

Increasingly TCC is being looked to as a leader in Virginia and Hampton Roads for healthcare education and training, says DiCroce. “The center builds on TCC’s tradition of excellence in health-career education, including nurse preparation in the Beazley School of Nursing,” she adds.

TCC continues to connect the dots between industry workforce demand and job seekers. Notably, the college recently received federal grant awards to lead electronic health records training across 12 states and to head up health-workforce preparation in Virginia.

The center positions TCC to increase its output of healthcare professionals and expand partnerships to include Operation Smile and the region’s hospitals.

“Experiential learning – with the latest technology and advanced medical simulation – is the hallmark of our Regional Health Professions Center,” says Provost Michael Summers, Virginia Beach Campus, where the RHPC is located. The center marries science and technology with hands-on diagnostic learning.

The RHPC supports TCC’s 15 health profession specialties which include critical care, emergency medical technician, health information technology, medical assisting, nurse aide, phlebotomy and physical therapy assisting – as well as potential new programs such as mammography, ophthalmology and surgical technician. The college has nearly 8,000 students preparing for careers in healthcare.

TCC’s Regional Health Professions Center offers dozens of laboratories and simulation areas, including a doctor’s office, a two-story apartment for physical and occupational therapy, a sleep lab, sonography stations and respiratory therapy labs with state-of-the-art human patient simulators.

Among its many features, in addition to specialized classrooms with multimedia teaching stations and cameras, the RHPC boasts:

  • 85 simulators, ranging from IV practice arms to CPR-practice torsos to high-quality full manikins
  • 10 human-patient simulation rooms that put students in high-tech hands-on settings
  • 25 state-of-the-art labs where clinical settings offer the latest in digital imaging
  • A doctor’s office complete with medical records area, pharmacy, lab and exam rooms
  • Physical and occupational therapy labs with specialized exercise and fitness equipment
  • A two-story apartment with a kitchen, staircase, bathroom and bedroom replicating daily living for patients in therapy or undergoing rehabilitation

Specialized technology infuses the center, highlighted by the following systems:

  • GE’s latest digital x-ray system – a digital tomosynthesis x-ray unit, providing sectional body images – a cutting edge technology, with TCC the only educational setting in the region.
  • The high-tech Picture Archiving and Control System, known as PACS, models real-life online systems in use at advanced hospitals.
  • Cross-discipline electronic health records systems that model best practices in use today.
  • The renowned METI diagnostic simulation system (Medical Educational Technologies Inc.), in use by the likes of Harvard Medical School, has fueled
    TCC’s innovative entry into intellectual property development with simulations of respiratory therapy scenarios.

TCC set the stage for the RHPC with a momentous groundbreaking on July 22, 2009. Gov. Timothy Kaine joined President DiCroce, city officials, business, healthcare and civic leaders and TCC community members to announce the planned state-of-the-art facility.

The facility was designed by architect Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architecture and Engineering with construction by Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

Manifesting its continuing strategic growth, TCC is in the midst of a $500 million capital expansion, the largest in its history. Most recently, the college opened an entirely new campus – the Fred W. Beazley Portsmouth Campus, and the Norfolk Student Center. Upcoming facilities include student centers on TCC’s other three campuses, the TCC-City of Virginia Beach Joint-Use Library and an academic building on the Chesapeake Campus.

Healthcare will generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018, more than any other industry. – United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

TCC Regional Health Professions Center dedication ceremony