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franklin county times

MCC students watch surgeries

By Staff
MOCK SURGERY Neil Graham, left, receives a surgical instrument from Lisa Pevey as Alexis Alexander assists during a simulated carpal tunnel release surgery in the lab at Meridian Community College. The students are among 15 men and women enrolled in the college's surgical technology program. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Lynette Wilson / staff writer
Nov. 18, 2002
The first time Meridian Community College student Jennifer Funck was in the operating room, she watched doctors amputate a patient's legs below the knee.
Funck, a former cashier at a local pharmacy, is one of 13 women and two men enrolled in MCC's three-semester surgical technology program. All have jobs waiting for them when they graduate.
On Tuesday, MCC will host an open house to introduce the community and prospective students to the program the first time the community college has offered the curriculum in 20 years.
Surgical technicians prepare the trays that hold instruments doctors need during surgery. Technicians prepare patients for surgery and maintain a sterile environment in the operating room.
Richie McAlister, dean of occupational education at MCC, said Meridian's three hospitals approached the college three or four years ago and expressed a need for workers trained in surgical technology.
The request was granted in August.
Hospitals help
McAlister said that because of budget constraints, state funding was unavailable for the program. So the three hospitals rallied together and provided the program with necessary supplies, he said.
Ramona Jackson, nursing director at Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center, said the hospital has 15 surgical technician positions 14 full-time and one part-time. Of those, four are vacant.
Jackson said Jeff Anderson worked with East Central Community College in Decatur and hired students from its surgical technology program. But most of those students later took jobs closer to home.
Health care shortage
Dusty Culpepper, Jeff Anderson hospital recruiter, said six of the students enrolled in MCC are on scholarship paid for by the hospital.
Culpepper said students with one-year of education can expect a salary of $23,500 and students with a two-year associate's degree can expect $24,500.
Tommy McDonald, MCC vice-president, said MCC is all about partnering with the community. He said the hospitals expressed a need for training and workers and MCC looked for ways to meet that need.
Meridian Community College's Surgical Technology Program will host an open house Tuesday from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. in the program's offices in Smith Hall, room 106. At 3 p.m., MCC personnel and administrators from local hospitals will speak.