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LINCOLN – Improved access to healthcare education for rural area students is the goal of a $500,000 federal grant to Southeast Nebraska Community College (SCC), which has a branch in Plattsmouth.

“This grant will support the development of a multi-campus simulation center that will connect all SCC locations using technology,” said Jill Sand, the college’s dean of health sciences.

The Lincoln and Beatrice campuses will serve as hubs for the software, she said.

“Rural students throughout our service area will have increased access to healthcare education programs, and be able to complete programs in or close to their home communities.”

According to Sand, this $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will fund a visual/audio learning tool (VALT), a web-based software solution connecting healthcare instructors and students across all campuses.

The college’s Health Science Department is developing at each campus healthcare learning spaces, which includes a mock hospital patient care room, Sand said.

“The VALT software will allow faculty and students to interact and collaborate with each other on multiple campuses,” she said.

The Plattsmouth campus has a two-bed health sciences learning environment, Sand said. In addition, it received simulation mannequins from a previous USDA grant, she added.

“As we explore avenues to make health sciences education more accessible to our 15-county area, the use of technology and providing medical learning environments is the first step in being able to meet students where they are living and working with any of our 16 health sciences programs,” she said.

“We have students driving to Lincoln or Beatrice from some distance and with this technology, labs can be completed via the VALT software and our health sciences learning spaces saving time and money. In addition, we have individuals in our communities who do not see healthcare education as a possibility and now it will be.”

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