Three health care programs at Community College of Philadelphia have donated life-saving equipment to local hospitals to support health care facilities and their colleagues working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Respiratory Care Technology program, the Biomedical Equipment Technology (BMET) program and the Nursing program at CCP have donated either ventilators or personal protective gear, both of which are in short supply and used to treat patients with the novel coronavirus. The Respiratory Care Technology program has donated four ventilators and one BiPAP, which is a less invasive type of ventilator that helps patients keep breathing. The program uses the equipment to help students prepare for their upcoming respiratory therapy clinicals in hospitals. The BMET program donated its ventilator as well. Students in that program learn how to test and repair the medical equipment used in hospitals. The technicians play a vital role by taking care of the medical devices that nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists use in caring for patients.
All five ventilators and the BiPAP are currently on loan to the Temple University Health System. Respiratory Care Program director Lisa Fielding said that CCP respiratory care graduate Hernan Alvarado Jr., currently an administrative director of respiratory care at Temple, contacted the College to see if it had equipment it could spare. Dr. Catherine Blaine, CCP’s director of clinical education, played a pivotal role in the donation. The nursing program donated personal protective equipment packets, each including a hospital mask, gown and gloves to Jeanes Hospital and Fox Chase Cancer Center.
“I was clearing out the lab and I said, ‘Hey, we could donate this’,” said Michelle Nixon-Alicea, a nursing instructor at CCP who also teaches clinicals at Jeanes Hospital. A conversation led to the decision to donate 75 personal protective equipment packets each to Jeanes and Fox Chase. Nursing faculty use the protective gear to show students how to properly use and remove the garments, Nixon-Alicea said.
Both Fielding and Nixon-Alicea said their programs enjoy close relationships with staff at area hospitals who help prepare students for the workplace by providing hands-on experience.
“We have a lot of friends out there on the frontlines,” Nixon-Alicea said. “Everything is on the line right now. The machines would be sitting there, not being used, so why not use them to help?” Fielding added.
Community College of Philadelphia ‘s Class of 2020 includes approximately 96 nursing students, 21 students in respiratory therapy and 15 students in the BMET program.
Graduates strengthen Philadelphia’s local economy and workforce — 89% of recent graduates who were working at a job eight months after graduating from the College were employed in the Philadelphia metro area.
Over the years, CCP’s Nursing Program has graduated more than 5,000 students; the Respiratory Care program, which formerly was called the Respiratory Technician and Therapist program, has graduated more than 1,000 students.