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The new Wood Health Sciences Building planned for opening in fall 2023 at Odessa College will feature the Medical Center Health System Simulation Hospital, which officials said will reduce the time it takes to train healthcare workers and enhance care for Permian Basin residents in the future.
The announcement of Medical Center Health System’s commitment of a $5 million investment over a 10-year period was made in the foyer of the Saulsbury Campus Center Wednesday and live streamed on Facebook.
Plans are to break ground on the $39.7 million, 83,000-square-foot, four-story building in late 2021. The simulation hospital will span the entire first floor of the Wood Health Sciences Building and will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology to simulate patient care scenarios.
The simulation hospital will provide a collaborative environment for all health sciences students that will include the following suites: emergency room, operating room, labor and delivery, nursery, physical therapy and radiological technology. The simulation hospital will also include five high simulation patient rooms, five doctors’ office simulation rooms and 10 basic simulation patient rooms, a news release said.
Medical Center Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Russell Tippin said the hospital board has been behind the project since it was introduced a couple of months ago. Board members David Dunn, Bryn Dodd, Don Hallmark and Ben Quiroz were on hand. A rendering of the new building was placed near the podium where officials made their remarks.
“We cannot be any more excited about this project than we are today, and when you look at pictures like this, what a partnership to have with Odessa College and Medical Center Health System. It only makes sense that this comes together to get these healthcare workers in our hospital and in surrounding hospitals to make sure that we have the staff necessary and trained correctly to take care of our patients in the future,” Tippin said.
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“We are very excited … to hitch our wagon to Odessa College because we know they crank out top-notch students and future employees for us. When you start talking about nurses, you start talking about physical therapists, you start talking about lab techs, physical therapy aides, x-ray techs, respiratory therapists, that’s everything we need at Medical Center. …,” he added.
When the idea for the building came to the hospital, Tippin said they knew it was something they wanted to be part of to improve healthcare in Ector County and the Permian Basin.
In terms of nurses and respiratory therapists, Chief Nursing Officer Christin Timmons said Medical Center has upward of 100 positions open.
“This facility, working very closely with Odessa College, is going to bring us those experienced individuals. We cannot wait for that day to come. This also helps us on the Medical Center side. This simulation center is going to impact not just our clinical providers, but the care that our patients receive because they are now going to be allowing us to come as clinical providers, physicians, residents, over here to use the simulation center in order to enhance our skills,” Timmons said.
Tippin said MCH’s payroll is $160 million a year if every spot is full. If not, he said, it takes more funding because of contract labor costs.
Timmons said an average travel nurse today costs her between $150 and $175 an hour and many of them work 12 to 14 hour shifts.
“You work a seven-day rotation, so it's really pretty calculable,” Timmons said.
Another benefit of the simulation hospital is that it is expected to reduce training time for those who go to work at MCH.
Timmons said it takes four to six weeks to train a respiratory therapist after they get out of school and it takes “a good six to eight weeks for a nurse.”
“That’s just working a general medical floor. Now if you go into critical care, it takes an average of 12 weeks in order to train a nurse from the time they leave school, so this building could really help decrease that time by weeks if we really partner the correct way,” Timmons added.
Tippin said it will ultimately end up saving the taxpayers money because they will be able to keep the money here and not pay contract rates. He added that the Medical Center Health System Foundation and auxiliary have agreed to offer the hospital help with its financial commitment to the new building.
The Wood Family Foundation committed $5 million to the building’s construction in December 2020.
A news release issued Wednesday said the simulated learning environment will enable students enrolled in certain OC health sciences programs to complete 50 percent of their required clinical hours by caring for simulation mannequins in the simulation hospital and 50 percent in a hospital or nursing home setting.
The new Health Sciences Building’s additional space and technology will allow OC to add more programs and accept more students into the School of Health Sciences and continuing education programs, the release said.