Assabet’s Health Tech program awarded MA Skills Capital Grant

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By Cindy Zomar, Contributing Writer

Assabet instructor Kathy Regan demonstrates working with a mannequin in one of the new high-tech hospital units.
Assabet instructor Kathy Regan demonstrates working with a mannequin in one of the new high-tech hospital units.

Marlborough – Assabet Valley Regional Technical High has been awarded a Massachusetts Skills Capital Grant for $358,741 to be used in the Health Technologies program. This was the third time the program had applied, and Kathy Regan, the lead instructor, gives the writing credit to Bryant Laflamme, the Director of Technical Programs. 

“I just got to spend it,” she laughs. 

Laflamme admits that it was a lot of time and effort to write the grant application again. 

“It is a competitive process and a big, painful submission, but there was a need to replace aging equipment, so we tried again. We must be aligned with industry trends so our students are job-ready when they graduate. That’s our mission! We provided letters from our workforce partners, colleges, and Program Advisory Committee, extolling the eventual benefits to them. We shared a line-item budget of everything we thought we needed to have our kids ready for the real world,” he recalled.

 

Learning model ready for anything

“We purchased all new modular desks and teacher carts and arranged our Student Learning Center so that we can space everyone six feet apart when they are physically here. At the same time, we know that things can change on a dime to full remote learning, so we can move our laptops and screens to focus on a piece of equipment or hospital bed and everyone can watch the instructor from home,” explained Regan.   

 

Upgrades in online learning systems

Students were already given Chromebooks to take home, but a set of 60 was purchased for the classroom as well. Five-year licenses were purchased for both the Applied Education System and Dean Vaughn Medical Terminology online curriculums, as well as on online electronic medical software called EHR Tutor. 

 

$350K funds a lot of equipment

New equipment fills the labs at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High’s Health Technologies program courtesy of a $350K+ MA Skills Capital Grant.
New equipment fills the labs at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High’s Health Technologies program courtesy of a $350K+ MA Skills Capital Grant.

Ten new high-tech hospital units with beds, side tables and overbed tables and 10 mannequins give students hands-on learning experiences daily. There are also two ALEX Patient Communication Simulators with programmable “speaking” mannequins. WOW (Workplace on Wheels) mobile computerized carts for taking vital signs, new EKG machines and carts, stethoscopes with ADA approved high quality sound for hearing impaired students, Nasco blood pressure simulation arms, new skeletons, scales, automated mechanical lifts, and Accu-chek blood sugar monitors all reflect current industry standards. Staff used 60 cinch bags donated by Quinsigamond Community College to send home supplies for practicing some competencies, such as denture and nail care, a bed pan, and a gait belt for transfers. These can be cleaned and recycled for the next classes. 

 

Timing was perfect

“We were very thankful to be able to get all this during a time when we had to adjust our teaching methods,” Regan admitted. “Luckily, we have four instructors who are not afraid of new technology and work great together.”

And I can’t say enough about our maintenance team who had to receive all these boxes and put everything together, or the Painting & Design graduates who painted our labs last summer. This grant allowed us to be creative in reaching our goal to have the kids safe and engaged in lessons, in person or remotely,” she added. 

 

Graduates ready for workforce

New Nasco blood pressure simulation arms are just part of the equipment the AVRTHS Health Technologies program was able to buy with their recent grant.
New Nasco blood pressure simulation arms are just part of the equipment the AVRTHS Health Technologies program was able to buy with their recent grant.

The health tech students are eligible to take the Certified Nursing Assistant exam. They also earn their CPR/First Aid, Paid Feeder, Electrocardiogram Tech, Medical Administrative Assistant, Home Health Aide and Alzheimer’s-Dementia caretaker certifications. 

Photos/submitted

 

 

 

 

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