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Hospital and ACC collaborate

News Photo by Michael Gonzalez From left, Don MacMaster, Kelli Leask, Denise Wekwert, Falcon Carpenter, Annabelle Kors, Jessica Mcewen, and Shannon Brousseau pose for a picture on Wednesday in a conference room at ACC’s Van Lare Hall after the debut announcement for the MyMichigan Medical and ACC collaboration.

ALPENA — MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena and Alpena Community College have worked closely together to collaborate and create a new course, Health 106: Fundamentals of Surgical Care, that allows two nursing students, each semester, a chance to learn more about surgical services through a hands-on, simulated operation room class and work as paid employees at the hospital.

According to Jessica Mcewen, director of nursing at MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena, the hospital and the entire state have struggled with filling in surgical tech assistant positions.

Shannon Brousseau, the operating room manager, Kelli Leask, ACC director of nursing, and Mcewen have worked together to create a class that provides the two students with an opportunity to get real experiences, as well as working a paid position.

ACC Simulation Lab Manager Denise Wekwert will teach the fundamentals of surgical care, along with guideline state regulations and sterile techniques.

“They’re going to be employees of us coming up in mid-December and we’re going to start them in our sterile processing department where they can start to learn even before they get to Denise in that initial class,” Mcewen said. “They’ll have some knowledge, even in those couple weeks with us, of sterile technique, instrument identification, how to handle yourself in a sterile environment — that kind of thing.”

Mcewen said that once the two students’ skill level is good enough, they can eventually work in the operating rooms.

ACC President Don MacMaster commends everyone who put this together.

“It’s a difficult thing to stand up because you don’t have a lot of students and it can be expensive,” MacMaster said. “And folding it into the existing (licensed practical nursing) program struck me as a very elegant, responsible solution to this issue. I want to commend everyone who was part of it, and wish the best of luck to our two new students.”

Currently, only two students are planning to take the elective course each semester as the operating rooms can only fit a limited amount and officials want to give everybody the individual attention they deserve, according to Brousseau.

Both students, Falcon Carpenter and Anabelle Kors, say they are ecstatic to start their healthcare work and believe the course will help their careers and families.

“I’m just so, so very excited to be able to correspond this with my classwork and then being able to further my education in this career,” Carpenter said. “Because this is a dream come true.”

ACC is expecting the course to only take one semester, which then offers the same opportunity to another two students to possibly start in August.

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