Monday, October 17, 2011


A human simulator in Germanna's Virtual Hospital. The high-tech devices mimic symptoms and human reaction to treatment--or lack of proper treatment allowing nursing students to learn and gain confidence in a risk-free environment.

Germanna Community College Prof. Karen Mittura, RN, is one of 20 nurse educators selected from across the nation for a year-long Leadership Development Program for Simulation Educators. The National League for Nursing faculty development initiative is designed for those assuming leadership roles in the field of using human simulators in nursing education.

Those selected from institutions around the U.S, will study for a year under Dr. Pamela Jeffries, associate dean for academic affairs at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She nationally known for her research and work in developing simulations and online teaching and learning.

The concept of a "Virtual Hospital" was a result of a collaborative effort by Prof. Mittura and GCC’s Dr. Patti Lisk, who have been trailblazers in the field. It was their vision to use of high fidelity simulation in the nursing program at Germanna. Working on the original grant for the purchase of high fidelity simulators, Prof. Mittura teamed with Dr. Lisk to create realistic experiences in a lab setting for the nursing students.

A group of educators and healthcare leaders from the Netherlands toured Germanna's Virtual Hospital last week.

Prof. Mittura works to combine simulation scenarios that fit various types of patients to ensure student exposure to situations they will encounter in real-life hospital settings. Prof. Mittura received the Technology in Education award with Dr. Lisk for their 2007 presentation “The Virtual Hospital: A New World of Independent Thinking, Leading and Learning.”

National League for Nursing program participants recently began their experience with two days in Orlando prior to the NLN's 2011 Education Summit. The group will participate in leadership development webinars, exchange ideas and best practices in simulation in private forums, review existing research, visit simulation centers around the country to evaluate resources and operations, consult with companies on technological innovations and attend conferences.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Earn a Business Administration degree on weekends at Germanna

Deirdre Blake of WFLS reports on Germanna Community College's new Accelerated Business Administration Program.
The program will make it possible to get an Accelerated Business Administration associate's degree on weekends over the course of the Spring semester.

Registration starts in November and classes begin in January.

Please go to the the GCC Web site or call 540/891-3000 for more information.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Germanna student realizes dream of becoming a registered nurse; sets goal for 4-year-old daughter

Mary Washington Hospital registered nurse Tiffany Henderson, above, credits Germanna with getting her where she wanted to go, career-wise.

Fredericksburg resident Tiffany Henderson, 26, had more than her own career in mind when she entered the Registered Nursing Program at Germanna Community College.
She wanted to be a good role model for her 4-year-old daughter, Aleah.
Henderson completed the RN program at Germanna in May, passed her state board exam, and is now a critical care nurse at Mary Washington Hospital.
She was in the Licensed Practical Nursing program at GCC she became pregnant with her daughter and left college. When her daughter was a couple of months old, she returned, entering the RN program.
For the past six years, she had worked as a registrar in the Mary Washington Hospital emergency room, watching others perform the job she longed to do herself.
“I definitely wanted to finish before Aleah started school—to focus on her studies and not my own.
“She asks me: ‘Mommy, are you going to work to make people feel better? Are you going to take people’s temperature?’ “
Henderson said she’d like Aleah to become a nurse, too.
“I wanted to set an example for her,” Henderson said, “to do something that will help her take care of herself in the future. She saw me go through the process. Children follow your example.”
Henderson said the GCC Nursing program: “gave me what I needed to reach my goal of becoming a registered nurse. I was ready when I took the state board exam. There were no surprises in the questions because of the way Germanna prepared us. I feel like I got what I paid for. I’m satisfied.”
She is one of nine critical care nurses at Mary Washington Hospital, all from the same class at Germanna.
GCC Assistant Professor of Nursing Debbie VanNortwick taught Tiffany in both clinical and classroom settings. “She consistently sought to understand the whole picture in order to develop critical thinking skills,” VanNortwick said. “In clinicals [live hospital settings], she was always kind to the patients and her coworkers. She demonstrated the ability to be a strong member of the health care team. She will be an asset to any organization.”
Dean of Nursing Mary Gilkey said: “Accounts like Tiffany’s are typical, especially in today's economy where many moms, dads, sons and daughters of all ages are working very hard to find a means to support their families.”
She said Germanna Nursing, and other programs, including GCC Workforce and career and technical studies: “are challenged to meet the ever-growing workforce needs of our region. It’s our hope that if families have not looked to Germanna to prepare them to fill job openings in growing fields that they take a second look and see just how we can be a means to affordably provide an education for career and lifetime educational choices.”

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


This year Mental Health Awareness Week (Oct. 2-8) has arrived at a time in which many Americans find themselves in crises.
According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates in the U.S. rise during recessions and fall during economic booms. Recognizing emotional depression and reacting appropriately can save lives.
Meanwhile, suicide rates among military personnel and veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq are alarmingly high. Many are being attributed to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Recognizing PTSD and getting the individual help could save his or her life.
So the time seems right for Germanna Community College to offer Mental Health First Aid, a 12-hour course over two Saturdays—Oct. 22 and 29—designed to train people to assist those developing a mental health problem or crisis. Successful completion prepares those who take the course to respond to individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts, panic attacks and addiction relapse, among other problems.
Learning objectives include:
• A working knowledge of the potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems.
• How to deal with depression, anxiety, trauma, psychiatric disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse disorders and self-injury such as cutting.
• A five-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to assess the situation, implement interventions and help the person in crisis connect with appropriate professional care.
• A working knowledge of the appropriate professional, peer, social and self-help resources available to help someone with a mental health problem treat and manage the problem and recover.
Upon successful completion of the course, participants receive Mental Health First Aid USA certification. Registration deadline is Oct. 13.
The course runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 22 and Oct. 29 at the Red Cross facility at 4836 Southpoint Parkway near the Cracker Barrel in Massaponax. It costs $169. To register, please contact GCC’s Center for Workforce & Community Education at 540/891-3012.