Vermont Technical College will open its state of the art clinical learning and simulation center at its Brattleboro campus on Thursday. The additional 1,000 square feet of educational space is possible thanks to a $600,000 grant awarded to VTC through the efforts of Senator Patrick Leahy.Clifford LaPlante, nursing site director of the Brattleboro campus, is pleased and grateful for the new addition, “It enhances the entire educational experience. We can now teach things we wouldn’t otherwise be able to.”LaPlante, who has been a registered nurse for 34 years, has noticed a continual state of growth in VTC’s nursing programs since his arrival nearly 7 years ago. “One of the things that struck me about the nursing department and the college almost immediately was that the nursing department has this desire for continuous quality improvement. It’s constantly looking at student evaluations, at the many facets of the program, and at all the data, and constantly examining and reexamining everything. And no matter how good the numbers are, or how good the evaluation is, the question is always the same: ‘How can we do it just a little bit better?'”One way the college hopes to do things a little bit better is through “simulation technology”. Simulators are very high-tech, life-like mannequins designed to do just about everything a real person can do, including breathe, talk and give birth.Through the use of simulation technology, the college’s nursing faculty will be able to train students to handle just about any situation. “VTC has always had a basic skill lab where first year nursing students learn very basic nursing skills,” LaPlante said, “but these high fidelity simulators will put students in situations they should know and experience, but may not have to deal with every day. We call these ‘high risk – low incidence’ situations, for example, a patient having a heart attack. It’s hard to train for this sort of thing because people don’t have heart attacks on cue.”Those in attendance for the ribbon cutting ceremony will include Dr. Philip Conroy, VTC’s new president, as well as cabinet members and local leaders in nursing education. The event, which is meant to be a social occasion as well as a demonstration in cutting edge technology, will be an opportunity to acknowledge everybody’s hard work and Vermont Tech’s continued commitment to the nursing programs. LaPlante, who will be the master of ceremonies, is proud of the hard work he and the rest of the nursing faculty do on a day-to-day basis to ensure the nursing program’s high standards.”I think Vermonters should know that it’s a very high quality program, and they’re very fortunate, I think, to have it to improve the quality of healthcare in Vermont.”About VTC’s Nursing ProgramsThe curriculum for the preparation of both Practical Nurses and associate’s degree Registered Nurses is built upon the foundational concepts of Dorothea Orem and eight outcomes that are prominent in each nursing course. These include nursing process; scientific principles; communication theory; ethical and legal principles; an understanding of the nursing role as a member of an interdisciplinary team; an understanding of the role of the provider of care; teaching and learning principles; and responsibility for accountability and self-growth.About Vermont Technical CollegeFounded in 1866, Vermont Technical College is a public, coeducational, undergraduate institution offering more than 25 bachelor’s and associate degree programs. Vermont Tech currently enrolls approximately 1,650 students. www.vtc.edu(link is external).