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Barton Nursing partnership with St. Rose Health Center continues to thrive
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Nursing students pose with one of the new Omnicell units in one of the new dedicated labs. The large piece of equipment is like a large vending machine for medicine that has to be opened in specific ways dictated by security measures. - photo by Courtesy of BCC

Nothing can prepare a student for a career like hands-on experience with real-world equipment. Barton’s Nursing, Adult Healthcare and Pharmacy Technician programs will all have more opportunities for continued real-world scenarios with the help of a recent, sizable donation of about $140,000 worth of equipment from St. Rose Health Center in Great Bend.

St. Rose has gone through several transitions over the past few years that made some of its equipment available to donate.

Barton’s Director of Nursing and Healthcare Education Kathy Kottas said the donation will be a huge benefit to her students.

“This is just huge for us,” she said.  “Even if we were to request this equipment, it would take us years to acquire it all and some of these pieces we could never even ask for.  It has just put us ahead leaps and bounds.”

Two Omnicell machines, which were two of the largest pieces physically, also carried the largest price tag of about $40,000 each.  The machines are found in almost all hospitals and are used to dispense medicine.

Kottas said experience with equipment is invaluable to students.

“They (medicine dispensing units) are in every facility that we go to, and they are big units and the thought of accessing them is pretty overwhelming for them at times,” she said.  “It’s similar to any other piece of equipment.  If they can get their hands on it here on our campus, where it’s safe and if they make a mistake it’s not going to be an issue, when they have to use one in real life, they’ve at least touched it and accessed it and it makes it less nerve-wracking or scary for them.”  

The Omnicell units, in addition to the other items donated, contributed to a larger opportunity as a whole.  The materials allowed for the addition of a dedicated Pharmacy Tech lab for Pharmacy Tech students and an Adult Healthcare lab for Certified Nurses Aide and Certified Medical Aide students to get hands-on training.

“We were just getting limited with our facilities, and trying to find times for everybody to be able to use our existing nursing labs,” Kottas said.

In addition to increased space, the dedicated Adult Healthcare Lab, which includes a mock resident’s room, has helped meet regulations for instruction set forth by the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

One of the most meaningful pieces donated was not medical equipment.  It was a pew from the original chapel that resided in one of the iconic circular towers of St. Rose Hospital, which will eventually be demolished.

“It really is a symbol of our heritage,” Kottas said of the college’s longstanding partnership with St. Rose. “We have a lot of great partnerships with other institutions in the area, but this one is a little bit unique in that we have a bit of our nursing program’s history that connects us to them.”

Starting in 1966, the college teamed up with what was then known as the Dominican School of Nursing and decided a nursing curriculum would be established at Barton once it opened.  Sister Mary Ann Klein, who worked at the Dominican School of Nursing, became the first Director of Nursing at Barton and the relationship has grown from that first connection so many years ago.

St. Rose Administrator Leanne Irsik said the transitions at St. Rose will be helpful to Barton’s students as they continue their clinical work.

“Healthcare services are changing as we go forward and the opportunities for nursing students as they move into their careers are varied,” she said.   “Getting an opportunity to have an experience in a clinical environment that is not only a hospital environment, which will always be there, but the opportunity for them to work with patients in every environment that they can be cared for is critical because it is a totally different kind of relationship that they have with their patients in ambulatory setting and urgent care.”

The partnership continues to be vital to St. Rose as well.

“It is a critical partnership,” she said.  “It provides us the opportunity to help prepare the nurses of the future.”

For more information on the nursing program, call (620) 792-9357 or email