According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20 percent of adults in the state of Illinois report being in fair or poor health. In addition, our most recent state census data shows that the proportion of Illinois’ population that is age 60 and older is growing more rapidly than other components of the population. These two statistics alone indicate that access to and demand for high quality health care is more important than ever. Through solid employer partnerships, state-of-the-art technology and facilities, and evolving curriculum and professional development for faculty, community colleges expertly strengthen the workforce in one of our country’s most critical and growing sectors.

At Waubonsee Community College, we recently renovated our Aurora Fox Valley Campus with a goal of making it the central hub of our health care programs in nursing, nursing assistant, surgical technology, phlebotomy, medical assistant and emergency medical assistant. Providing students with hands-on training using the equipment found in medical offices and hospitals, paired with clinical experiences with our employer partners, is our way of ensuring that our students are prepared to do their very important jobs once they graduate.

So what does a state-of-the-art health care classroom look like today? You can find out during our Community Open House on October 22, but if you’re not able to join us in person, suffice it to say that our classrooms and labs look identical to hospitals and medical offices. That’s because simulation is critical to ensuring our students are prepared.

Our medical assistant and phlebotomy lab was designed to simulate a medical office, with realistic exam rooms and state-of-the-art equipment. The registered nursing lab has two simulations rooms with video cameras to recreate hospital and emergency room scenarios, with a control room in between. The lab also has 16 beds, six mannequins and a professional nurses’ station. The certified nurse assistant lab and classroom feature six hospital beds and a simulated restroom for training in a realistic care facility setting. The emergency medical technician lab has a fully-equipped boxed ambulance to simulate real-world emergencies.

When one enters the health care system seeking treatment for illness or other medical issues, they are at their most vulnerable. That is why we are firmly committed to ensuring that, as educators, we are providing our students with innovative, high quality curriculum and programs. In our tight knit communities, it’s very likely that the students working in our labs and classrooms today will be the professionals who treat us in the future. At Waubonsee, we know that we will be in good hands.