Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota opened its new Avera Nursing and Simulation Center, thanks in large part to a $1 million donation from Avera Sacred Heart Hospital. The nursing simulation lab provides a space for in-depth, hands-on training in a variety of health care situations ranging from basic health assessments to advanced life support for MMC students and for area professionals.

The simulation rooms range from an average hospital/clinic room to a space similar to assisted-living quarters, each with human simulators. "Our nursing program is something we’re very proud of, but it’s true that our facilities and technology haven’t always kept up with the quality of education," he said. "That changes today."

Giving students the opportunity to practice in a safe environment prior to their graduation will increase their confidence and proficiency in their care of patients, said Jenny McGinnis, an MMC alum and nurse practitioner at the Yankton Medical Clinic.

Avera Sacred Heart Hospital CEO and Regional President Doug Ekeren, agrees, saying, "Nurses are at the core of this resource, but other disciplines — including physicians, nurse practitioners and EMTs — will benefit from this," said. "But I think the real benefit will be for the future patients that will be serviced by folks that had the opportunity to use these resources. This is a critical improvement to ensure that there is adequate availability of trained, competent healthcare professionals in this region."