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State Tech Health Sciences Building near completion

State Tech Health Sciences Building near completion

January 21st, 2018 by Bob Watson in Local News

Julie Smith/News Tribune Kathleen Jeffries, at right, shares her excitement about the new home for the Dental Assisting Technology course at State Technical College of Missouri in Linn. Jeffries is the department chair and instructor of the course and was happy to show off her new facility during a board of regents tour Friday.

LINN, Mo. — In just a few months, State Technical College will be the owner of a new Health Sciences Building.

On Friday, school officials showed off the still-under-construction, 21,000 square-foot classroom building that will house four different programs starting this summer.

Facilities Manager Brad Crede told State Tech's regents he's happy with the work being done by Jefferson City-based Verslues Construction, which began the building work last May and is to be substantially finished by March 28, with final completion 30 days later.

"We are currently working with those Health Sciences programs to figure out who's going to move, when, based on their classes and when they end" for the spring semester, Crede explained.

The four programs to be taught in the new building are nursing, dental assisting technology, medical radiologic technology and physical therapist assistants — and all currently are being taught in the former Linn R-2 elementary buildings on U.S. 50-East in Linn.

Three of the programs — dental assisting, practical nursing and radiologic (X-ray) technology — formerly were taught at Jefferson City's Nichols Career Center, but were transferred from Jefferson City's Public Schools to State Tech in Fall 2013, partly because State Tech can award associate degrees, while the Nichols Career Center could not.

During Friday's tour, directors of the four programs invited regents, reporters and school officials to imagine the work they will be doing next year and in the years to come.

Nursing

Practical Nursing has been a one-year program, and State Tech's regents on Friday approved making it a two-year associates degree program — if state officials agree.

Linda Claycomb — whose husband, Don, retired two years ago after serving 23 years as the school's president — was hired last year to chair the reorga nursing program.

"It will look like a typical hospital ward that you'd see in any health care science building," Claycomb said of the new classroom space.

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Using mannequins of a variety of weights and sizes, she added, "you can teach your students or test your students — or they can practice" in the simulation rooms.

"The more they practice in the lab before they get to a hospital, the better the students will be able to perform," she said.

Dental Assisting Technology

"It doesn't look like much, now — but this is a fully-functional dental office," Dental Assisting Technology Director Kathleen Jeffries told the tour group Friday.

"They actually work on each other — it is a wonderful way to understand the patient's perspective and be able to talk to the patient and reassure the patient."

Jeffries said the best dental assistants really understand all the procedures the dentist will be doing and know how to communicate both with the doctor and the patient while dental work is being done.

"You have to know what the dentist is going to do and what (tools) they're going to use to do it," she explained. "You have to know what materials they're going to use and mix them" so they're ready for the dentist's needs.

In many cases, the dental assistant's job is much like being a surgical nurse, Jeffries said.

Medical Radiologic Technology

Melissa Hart, director of the Medical Radiologic Technology program, said her classroom spaces will include two working X-ray machines.

One of those will be "brand new digital equipment, that will be set up just like you would see in a hospital setting."

With so many different kinds of machines operating in the health care industry, she said, State Tech students are taught the basic techniques of the craft but not the specifics of all the different machines.

"We teach them the fundamentals," she said, adding students will learn how to position bodies for taking the various kinds of X-rays a doctor might need.

State Tech's degree provides the basic certification required before a technologist can advance to specialites like mammography or other specific area where X-rays have proved useful as diagnostic tools, she said.

Physical Therapy Assistant

Katherine "KD" Berrey heads State Tech's Physical Therapist Assistant training program and showed off the large space that eventually will be filled with a variety of equipment used to help people heal from different kinds of injuries.

"We have to teach through the entire life span," she said. "So, we teach pediatrics all the way through geriatrics.

"We have to teach orthopedic. We have to teach skilled nursing. We have to teach hospital" and a variety of other skills.

She added: "We teach everything but evaluation, discharge and prognosis.

"They just don't have to have the depth of knowledge that the physical therapist does."