BISMARCK, ND - Fall semester is already halfway over but it’s brought big changes for those enrolled in Health Sciences at Bismarck State College. This semester marks the first time they're driving to campus for classes.
The BSC Health Science department has moved from its old location downtown onto the school's main campus. School officials say this change is a response to a statewide health care workforce shortage.
Surgical technology student Mckayla Houx is among the first group of students to utilize the new facility.
"The old building only had two operating rooms. Now here, at the new health sciences building we have four. So, there's so much more room and space for us to be practicing skills," says Surgical Technology Student Houx.
Students also now have a full simulation center where they can receive practical experience.
"They can learn in the classroom, but really getting the ability to do those hands on skills is so important to help our students with critical thinking and then just knowing what to do in emergency situations," says Health Sciences Director of Nursing Annie Paulson.
Thanks to the programs, space, and equipment this facility provides, students like Houx have more tools to achieve their long term health care career goals.
"I'm getting to assist the surgeon in helping people get better and in surgery what we say is the patient is first and so that was really important to me because I want to help people,” Houx says.
The size of the new center means more spots available for students in health science programs -- which translates into a larger healthcare workforce in North Dakota.
BSC Health Sciences offers degrees for aspiring certified nursing assistants, emergency medical technicians and paramedics, medical lab technicians, nurses, and surgical technicians.