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Nurses’ trauma training to benefit from $60,000 donation

Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Western Nevada Community College nursing students, from left, Cinnamon Martin, Kevin Moyamckay and Jason Kattenhorn, work on a simulation mannequin Thursday afternoon at the Carson City campus. A retired Carson City couple has donated $60,000 to purchase more equipment for the nursing program, including a new infant mannequin. The simulation mannequins allow instructors to provide real-life scenarios for more hands-on training.
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A Carson City couple has donated $60,000 to Western Nevada Community College’s nursing program. The money will be used to purchase equipment to simulate real-life trauma situations.

Half of the $60,000 donation, made by Betty Ray and Locke Lesch, residents of Carson City for the past 18 years, will go toward an infant mannequin that can reproduce respiratory distress, an erratic heartbeat and fluid-like noise in the lungs.

“All those kinds of things we can help simulate and it helps our students learn what to do,” said Dr. Judith Cordia, WNCC director of Nursing and Allied Health.

The donation was inspired in part by two Lesch granddaughters who chose nursing careers. One attends nursing school in Omaha, Neb., and the other is a nurse in the cardiac unit at an Atlanta hospital.

Under Cordia’s guidance, the nursing school has increased its reliance on technology to make its nursing lab state-of-the-art and enable its graduating students to be well-prepared for the field.

“When I came here we had a beautiful facility in terms of space, but we didn’t have all the equipment that is necessary for our students,” Cordia said. “For the past three years, we have been on a mission to upgrade, upgrade, upgrade.”

The infant mannequin, expected to arrive within a month, will be the first of its kind at the nursing lab at the Carson City campus. The campus, which accepts 40 nursing students annually, has two adult-size mannequins. WNCC’s Fallon branch, which services eight nursing students in Fallon and the rural areas, has one adult-size mannequin and one infant mannequin.

“I was in the Carson-Tahoe Hospital just before Christmas and some of the nursing aides that were there were very impressive and these are the kind of students that come out of the college here,” Locke said.

The remaining $30,000 of the donation will be used to purchase a glucometer, or blood sugar monitor, computer programs, intravenous pumps, abdominal mannequins, and even a training arm – or ‘fake arm’ for needle insertion.

“(Locke) is a very scientific man and he and his wife understood immediately what we were trying to do,” Cordia said. “They believed in our vision enough to support us. What more could you ask for?”

Also, the Lesches recently donated $50,000 to the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center to help construction of its cancer research center, scheduled for completion in fall 2006. The Lesches made a donation of $55,000 more than a year ago as well.

Three years have passed since the Lesches, who raised two children, lost their daughter to cancer. Their son lives in Redwood City, Calif. The parlor of the cancer resource center will be named in honor of Betty Ray and Locke.

“About five years ago, we decided it was high time that we start depleting our assets,” Locke said. “We looked around, we knew some of the national charities and so forth, and we investigated. We finally came to the conclusion we would give at home.”

Even with the Lesches’ donations, the cancer resource center remains in need of millions of dollars for completion. Located on the north part of the new hospital campus, the center is about halfway complete.

“Our deep appreciation goes out to the Lesches and to other donors like them that really give our campaign momentum,” said Pam Graber, executive director of the Carson-Tahoe Regional Healthcare Foundation. “When folks make donations to local causes, they’re saying I believe in this. They’re also making a huge step in the betterment of our entire community. That’s just, to me, so heart-warming.”

• Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.