HCC school creates 'Simulation Lab' to prepare students for jobs

Thousands of nursing jobs are available today
Posted at 6:14 PM, Aug 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-24 18:14:52-04

There are thousands of un-filled registered nurse positions in Florida right now, and local colleges are racing to train people for those jobs.

The Florida Center for Nursing estimates that over 12,000 RN positions are available, with nearly 10,000 additional RN positions to be created in 2016, according to a 2015 survey of Florida hospitals.

Local colleges in the Tampa Bay Area are upgrading their training facilities to help fill those positions, and make sure their students are able to stay competitive in the job force.

To that end, the Hillsborough Community College in Tampa has just created a "Simulation Suite." The new lab is designed to look and feel like a real hospital, and gives students the chance to perform medical produces and diagnoses on dummy patients.

"I can practice this and the mannequin is not going to judge me," said Molly Gonzalez with a smile.

On Wednesday, Gonzalez and her classmates got to use the lab for the first time since it was completed this summer.

These kinds of labs are a popular training tool for colleges across the country, so if the HCC's students were going to compete, the school needed to upgrade.

Having the simulation lab now allows these students to get quality EMS and nursing education at community college prices.

And gets them to working in this in-demand field very quickly.

The HCC program is 2 years to complete, and when done, the students are eligible to take a national exam to become working RN's. The students can also continue their education towards a BSN, or a masters degree in nursing, like at USF, which is what Molly Gonzalez plans to do.

"I want to be a nurse," Gonzalez tells ABC Action News. "I want to work at a hospital and I want to help people."