Realizing that many health workers lack adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), Norwalk Community College’s Hospital Simulation Unit, a high-tech teaching facility funded by the Norwalk Community College Foundation, has donated 15,000 medical gloves, 919 masks, and 130 gowns to area hospitals, and has lent three ventilators.
Additionally, Vladimir Mariano, coordinator for the NCC Foundation-sponsored Makerspace, was granted special permission to produce face shields on campus with the school’s equipment. He and a Makerspace student intern, Lillie Dehaemer (NCC “Fabricator”) have already assembled more than 100 face shields to donate to frontline care workers in the community.
In addition to the PPE equipment NCC is donating and producing in its Makerspace, many of the healthcare workers courageously caring for COVID-19 patients are graduates of the NCC Nursing, Allied Health, EMT, Certified Nurse Aide (CNA), and Respiratory Care programs. NCC educates more nurses, allied healthcare workers, CNAs, and respiratory therapy technicians than any other college in Fairfield County.
“My NCC education has prepared me to be one of the best respiratory care practitioners who cares about the people and what we can do for them to the best of our expertise,” said Michelle Brown, an NCC alumna who is a respiratory therapist in New York City.
NCC Respiratory Care Program Coordinator Maria Grayson notes that NCC grads are working on the front lines at Stamford, Norwalk, and Greenwich Hospitals; St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport; Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in New York; St. Raphael’s Hospital in New Haven; White Plains Hospital; and New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center; as well as other facilities.
Professor Grayson herself is working weekend shifts during the COVID-19 crisis. “It really is like a war zone,” she said. “You are just so busy, non-stop the entire shift.” To protect herself, she wears double gowns, double masks, goggles, and gloves. When she gets home, she leaves her shoes outside, removes her clothes in the basement, and washes them right away in hot water.
“When we signed up to be healthcare providers, we signed up for anything that came our way,” Michelle Brown explained. She is committed to keeping an upbeat attitude for the sake of patients.
All of the NCC graduates interviewed said they are deeply touched by the outpouring of gratitude and concern they have received from the public. It has lifted their spirits to know that NCC has donated gloves, masks, gowns, and loaned three ventilators to local hospitals to support them.
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