JCC Celebrates 50 Years Of Nursing

Since 1963, Jamestown Community College’s nursing program has grown with the use of state-of-the-art technology to help students learn in a safe environment. The college’s 50-year nursing tradition was celebrated Sunday.

JCC first gained its charter in 1950, becoming the first New York community college. In 1962, JCC received a grant from the Kellogg Foundation for $7,600 to establish one of the first associate degree nursing programs. In those first few years, JCC boasted the only location where an associate degree nursing program could be found in Western New York.

According to Dawn Columbare, JCC professor and director of nursing education, JCC nursing students originally took their nursing courses at WCA Hospital, while only their general education classes were held on campus. Because of this, the partnership between the hospital and the college was one of the first instances of a hospital program incorporating college credits into students’ education in subjects such as anatomy and physiology and English. She said WCA Hospital’s school of nursing graduated its final class in 1964, while JCC’s nursing program began in 1963 and graduated its first class in 1965.

This is its first semester of holding classes in its brand new facilities, which were constructed earlier this year.

The new program recently upgraded its facilities with help from donors and grants, and within the last couple of years, additions have included a simulation mannequin that includes interchangeable parts to allow it to be a male or female at any time.

“This high-fidelity mannequin really does everything,” Columbare said. “The internal mannequin speakers provide multiple options for students to hear a variety of breath sounds. … It produces heart sounds, abdominal sounds, blood sounds, blood pressure, pump oximetry – which is measuring the oxygen in the blood.”

Other additions to the nursing program include a moderate-fidelity mannequin, an electronic medication dispenser unit, a simulated electronic medical record and professional development for faculty to facilitate the infusion of technology into the curriculum.

“Truly, education is preparation,” said Matt Bailen, a JCC student nurse. “The staff here is preparing us and grooming us to stand on our own two feet as professionals in the health care field.”

JCC students’ pass average on the National Life Insurance exam regularly exceeds the state and national average. The May graduating class outperformed the state average by 11 percent and the national average by 8 percent, Columbare said.

“The nursing program has had an enormous impact,” said Dr. Lillian Ney, board of trustees member for JCC.

“They started early and always have tremendous commitment to quality, the highest possible quality. And when you are in the health care profession, that’s the key.”