New Healthcare School Open For Business

Thursday, February 8th 2007, 10:51 am
By: News On 6

Thanks to medicine, we're living longer than ever. But ironically, there's a shortage of healthcare workers to take care of us as we get older.

That's where Tulsa Community College's biotechnology center comes in. News on 6 reporter Steve Berg attended their grand opening on Thursday.

The center was paid for in part by Vision 2025. And that's appropriate, because they say we're going to need a lot more healthcare workers by 2025. TCC pulled the wraps off its new Health Sciences and Biotechnology Center. We asked how it compared to the old one. But student John Tull says there is no comparison. "Night and day. Basically at the other school, all the machines were either broken, outdated, just not useful to us." TCC instructor Susan Schoffman concurs, "all I could do was tell them about automated instruments, and now they get a chance to see it and learn how to maintain it and how to deal with specimens and how to troubleshoot. It's just positively fabulous."

For example, take their new hematology machine. It's used to analyze blood, and up until now, a textbook was about as close as students got to the real thing. But that's all changed now with the brand-new machine. It is as good as any hospitals.

"When they originally built this, the plans were to set this up just like what a regular laboratory would look like in a hospital, so that way we could get the most real live experience before we get into our clinical rotations," said John Hull.

And healthcare officials, like St Francis Health Systems CEO Jake Henry say they need students who can hit the ground running. "By 2012, we'll be short some 3,000 nurses." And all those aging baby boomers mean a booming job market in healthcare, which is good news for people like John Tull. "Every Sunday when I open up the paper, there's somebody in there advertising for a medical lab technologist."

TCC says with this new center, they'll be able produce 30-percent more healthcare workers than they were before.