New allied health facilities put to the test during simulated exercises

12.11.2013 | By

San Jacinto College students participating in the recent allied health simulation exercises included, from left, Gerardo Parga, mock patient Kasey Richmond, Millard Williams, Brandon Rodriguez, Ana Aguirre, and Omar Morales. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.


Rob Vanya, December 12, 2013


San Jacinto College allied health students got true-to-life experience in providing health care under pressure during recent multidisciplinary simulation exercises at the North Campus.

It was the first time the College staged a training event that involved faculty and students from all allied health programs in the new state-of-the art science and allied health building. By all accounts, the new facility passed the “test drive” with flying colors.

“I love the new building because it provides an interactive way of learning that really helps us students to grasp nursing concepts and skills,” commented nursing student Christa Wall. “Working in the simulation labs with the advanced equipment is like being in a real hospital. It’s very life-like training.”

Faculty members were also impressed. “It’s an amazing building design, and it was wonderful to see how students from different allied health programs interacted with the mock patients and with each other,” remarked nursing professor Robbie Murphy. “Collaboration and communication is improved among different departments because of advanced equipment, and because all of the programs are in close proximity.”

Construction on the three-story North Campus science and allied health building was finished in March. The facility allows all science and allied health students to collaborate for in-depth research and understanding across fields of study. Labs are equipped with the most advanced technology available. Simulated doctors’ offices, labs, and reception areas provide the look and feel of a hospital environment. A simulated pharmacy has a walk-up window, computer assisted patient entry systems, medication dispensing systems, medication refrigeration system, sterile compounding, and other true-to-life training facilities. The Emergency Medical Technology area has a simulated ambulance, a shock trauma center equipped with 3G high-fidelity manikins, an intercom system, and a control room. The nursing area features 3G manikins, sinks, headwall units, a birthing bed with a Sim baby manikin, a simulation center equipped with a medication/IV room, a ventilator, IV pumps, and a medication dispensing system.

Allied health departments participating in the multidisciplinary exercises included vocational nursing, EMT, health information management, pharmacy technician, mental health services, and medical assisting.

During the exercises, faculty and students staged various medical scenarios ranging from mock minor injuries to more serious emergencies. As a mock patient in the EMT trauma center went “Code Blue” (started to have a heart attack), a call came across that a patient was experiencing a psychotic episode in a restroom. An EMT crew had to respond quickly, and subsequent care providers had to adapt just as quickly.

Scenarios intentionally involved students in every allied health area of study. The heart attack patient was stabilized by EMT students, then transferred to nursing students in ICU. While there, he suffered a subsequent cardiac arrest. Medications were filled and delivered by pharmacy technology students. Once stabilized, he demanded to get out of the hospital. He was a known cocaine user, and demanded a “fix.” Health information management students were brought in to warn him about leaving AMA (against medical advice). Mental health services students talked to him about obtaining treatment to overcome addictive behavior.

All of the exercises concluded with debriefing meetings, during which participants discussed what went right, and what went wrong. “We did run into a few glitches during some of the exercises, which have been addressed,” commented Murphy.

Serita Dickey, North Campus dean of allied health and natural science, said the training exercises provided invaluable experience for students. “Such simulation ties in everything students learn in classrooms and labs and puts it all into live action,” she commented. “We learned through real experience that San Jacinto College has a world-class allied health facility on par with facilities available at many universities. Combined with our experienced faculty, we are confident about how well prepared our graduates are to provide excellent medical care.”

San Jacinto College offers a wide range of allied health programs at all three campuses, all of which provide hands-on simulated training.


Job Outlook

The allied health field is projected to have an annual average growth rate of 3 percent nationwide every year until 2020, which is the highest growth rate of all the major industry sectors analyzed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment nationwide for all allied health care positions increased by 33,000 positions in August 2013, according to the BLS. According to the most recent BLS figures available, there is a surge in hiring in the areas of EMT, pharmacy technology, medical assistants, registered and vocational nursing, and mental health care. Local trends match the national trends. “In recent years, the job placement rates of all graduates of our allied health programs combined has been 90 percent and higher,” commented Dickey. “Many of our allied health students are hired, either part-time or full-time, before they even graduate.”

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About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College. For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or follow us on Facebook at