Mar 25, 2014

Columbia State Partners with Saint Thomas Health for Cardiac Training

Photo Caption: Summertown resident, Molly Tucker examines the lung simulator set up by Saint Thomas Health representative, Robin Barnett.

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. - March 25, 2014) - - - Columbia State Community College's nursing department, in partnership with Saint Thomas Health Regional Network, held its first Nursing IV Cardiac Symposium Feb. 18 at the Northfield Workforce Development and Conference Center in Spring Hill.

The symposium included an interactive case study, patient simulations with Judy Smith, associate professor of nursing, and two lectures. Dr. Jim Young, assistant professor of nursing, led the lecture on cardiac arrhythmias, while Ginny Massey-Holt, instructor of nursing, presented the acute coronary syndrome lecture.

The purpose of the symposium was to prepare the soon-to-be registered nurses to care for heart attack patients and provide patient education during the acute and recovery periods for patients experiencing angina or myocardial infarction. Approximately 60 fourth-semester nursing students from the Columbia and Williamson County campuses were in attendance for the day-long event.

Instructors note that symposiums can provide students with immediate hands-on practice of the principles learned in the classroom. By combining the teaching methods, students are able to better retain what they learn which will ultimately help them in their careers.

The student nurses engaged with STH educators and Air Evac during the skills training event for the hands-on portion of the symposium. They were challenged to recognize the signs and symptoms of ACS during a cardiac simulation involving a patient who was experiencing a heart attack.

Students implemented critical thinking skills and took action to diagnose and treat the patient quickly, working together as a team to determine a path of treatment based on patient answers, test results and vital signs.

"We were able to put together what we learned in the textbook and lecture and apply it to the hands-on scenario," said Jalene Holeman of Spring Hill. "We walked through the process together as though the patient had just arrived in the emergency department. As a team, we hit on all the different points of what medications, what allergies, and what the medical history was."

Holeman said she was relieved it was a simulation because it gave her the opportunity to apply what she had just learned. She added that the experience was valuable, and she'll feel better prepared when it comes time to assist during a real-life cardiac situation.

There are hopes that this will be a repeated delivery each semester for fourth-semester nurses, as it gets them out of the classroom and using their critical thinking skills to identify symptoms and apply proper care. The event also provides an opportunity for both the Columbia and Williamson County students to have a learning experience together when they typically wouldn't see each other until graduation.

"Part of becoming a nurse is the socialization process because it is a professional role, like being a doctor or lawyer," Massey-Holt said. "There is a specified program of study, as well as a licensure board and certification, so there are expected behaviors. A conference is one of those places that those behaviors are modeled in student nurses."

The symposium was made possible through a grant awarded to the STHRN by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources. The grant was established in order to develop and promote innovative educational strategies for recruitment and retention of health care workers, motivating them to seek employment in rural communities.

The NWDCC provided the meeting space as part of the partnership established with Columbia State and the EMS/Paramedic and Advanced Integrated Industrial Technology programs.

The Columbia State nursing program is committed to excellence in nursing education. The program has full approval from the Tennessee Board of Nursing and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Students admitted to the nursing program at Columbia State demonstrate excellent completion rates, first-attempt board exam success, and in-field employment rates.

For more information about applying to the program, contact Barbara Blum at (931) 540-2609 or, or visit

Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee's first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, one of the largest higher education systems in the nation. For more information, please visit

Tennessee's Community Colleges is a system of 13 colleges offering a high-quality, affordable, convenient and personal education to prepare students to achieve their educational and career goals in two years or less. We offer associate degree and certificate programs, workforce development programs and transfer pathways to four-year degrees. For more information, please visit us online at

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