COUNCIL BLUFFS — Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin secured federal funds a few years ago to help build the simulation classroom area for nurses at Iowa Western Community College. He visited the completed project Tuesday and came away impressed.
“It’s pretty neat,” he said after a tour.
It’s also important for the future, he added, as more older nurses retire.
“In the next 20 years, we have to have more nurses,” the Democrat said.
What’s more, the national health care law will heavily focus on outpatient medical care provided by nurses, Harkin said.
The simulation classroom area provides nursing students with the actual feel of working in a hospital or doctor’s office. There’s even an ambulance in one of the rooms, along with mannequins for the full effect.
There also are a maternity room, an emergency room, a doctor’s office and a surgical room.
About 350 students are training to become registered nurses or licensed practical nurses at the college, President Dan Kinney said.
“Our graduates are more confident because they’ve done a lot of these things (before entering the workforce),” he said.
“It’s more than adequate,” Harkin added.
Iowa Western also has a $1 million endowment available for nursing scholarships, Kinney said.
Earlier Tuesday, Harkin for the first time visited the Council Bluffs Google data center, where officials announced a $66,900 grant for the creation of an Emerging Technologies Academy for the Council Bluffs school district.
“This will allow the students to run their own data center,” said Chris Russell, Google manager.
The center, which will be built at Abraham Lincoln High School, will offer training in information technology systems, computer programming and software development, and simulate what a real data center does. What’s more, the students might be able to sell their data services to small businesses, school officials said.
“These are the jobs of the future,” Harkin said.