McDowell Technical Community College is excited to welcome the public to the dedication of the new Vickie A. Hogan Multidisciplinary Simulation Lab on Thursday at 1 p.m. in the Hemlock Building (Bldg. 11) on the college’s main campus. Following the dedication, staff will provide tours of the facility and light refreshments will be served.

The Vickie A. Hogan Multidisciplinary Simulation Lab will be used to train and educate students preparing for careers as nurse aides, practical nurses, registered nurses, phlebotomists, emergency medical technicians, paramedics and those preparing for related careers in health science.

Funding for facility renovation, equipment and related expenses was provided by generous gifts and grants from A.C. “Bud” and Thurlene Hogan, Appalachian Regional Commission, Bank of America, Cannon Foundation, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and The McDowell Endowment.

“We are grateful to each of these individuals and organizations for their support of the college and our programs,” said John Gossett, doctor of education and MTCC president. “We are especially thankful to Bud and Thurlene Hogan, who helped us conceive and initiate plans for this facility before Mr. Hogan’s death last February.”

The Multidisciplinary Simulation Lab will be dedicated in memory of the Hogan’s late daughter, Vickie, who had dreamed of becoming a medical missionary when she was a little girl. Although she would later graduate from nursing school and devote her life to patient care, she never lived to achieve her dream of serving God on the foreign mission field. But it was not for lack of trying.

Born in 1952, Vicki Hogan first thought of becoming a medical missionary shortly after having a stroke in Nov. 1959 during her first year of elementary school at what was then Old Fort High School.

Until she had that first stroke, her parents did not know that there was anything wrong with her. They soon learned, however, that she had been born with a medical condition in which the blood vessels in the brain become large and entangled, leading to unexpected hemorrhaging or strokes later in life.

For Vickie, it took an entire year of medical care, therapy and prayer before she was able to return for her second year of public school. It was during that year of absence that she met Ms. Pettaway, a pediatric nurse, who would inspire Vickie to become a nurse. As devout Christians, Bud and Thurlene were not at all surprised when the young Vickie told them of her dream of serving as a nurse on a foreign mission field.

When she graduated from Old Fort High School in 1972, Hogan entered the Davis Hospital School of Nursing in Statesville. Three years later, she received her degree and passed licensing exams to become a registered nurse.

But when she and her parents applied to the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, she was denied a position. It was too risky, the board said, for her to be in a remote area of some foreign country, with limited access to medical care, should she suffer another stroke.

Hogan was heartbroken, but she did not let it get her down. And where one door had closed, another opened, as she was offered a position in the pediatrics unit at Memorial Mission Hospital, now known as Mission Hospital. Ironically, western North Carolina would become Hogan’s mission field.

Despite her newfound optimism, adversity would rear its ugly head again a few years later. While trying to clear the airways of a two-year old patient in her care, Hogan suffered another stroke, which largely paralyzed her left side. As a result of this handicapping condition, she was unable to seek active employment in nursing, and after another stroke in 1979, it appeared that she would never be able to work in nursing again.

But Vickie, or some would say God, had another idea. Vickie began working part-time and soon applied for a position at Thom’s Rehabilitation Hospital in Asheville, working, of all things, with stroke patients and their families. It was a perfect fit.

As a recovering stroke patient, Hogan could relate uniquely to patients as both a survivor and caregiver. She inspired them to be like herself, leading a useful and productive life. Only dogged determination allowed her to succeed, however, as her series of strokes had made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for her to move about the hospital.

With the help of her family, Hogan purchased a three-wheeled scooter so that she could have some mobility on the job. Hogan continued to work at Thom’s until 1996 when her illness became so severe that she had to retire and move back to Old Fort to be with her family.

Two years later, in 1998, she suffered a final, massive stroke on Aug. 19 and passed away one day later, but not without leaving a trail of hope and inspiration in the lives of hundreds of patients with whom she came in contact over the years.

Years before her death, Hogan also made another choice to make it possible for her to give life and

health to others after she was gone—she became an organ donor—and upon her death, several of her organs were harvested and donated to others in need.

In honor of her love and devotion to nursing, the Hogans’ made a substantial donation to the non-profit MTCC Foundation Board more than a decade ago to be used as an endowment for a perpetual nursing scholarship in her honor, to be awarded to students in the associate degree nursing program at McDowell Tech.

“Vickie loved being a nurse and being able to help others, especially children,” Mr. Hogan said at the time of establishing the scholarship endowment.

The Hogan’s most recent gift to the college became a catalyst for completion of the new Simulation Lab.

“Research has shown that simulation labs allow students in clinical programs to get important hands-on experience performing procedures they will later use with real patients in hospitals, medical facilities and in emergency, field-based settings,” said Penny Cross, doctor of education and vice president for learning and student services.

“The main difference,” she said, “between providing care in a simulated lab and in the field is a live person and surroundings that mimic real life. However, our newest mannequins are extremely life-like, without the risk of injury to live patients as students begin their practical training. Our ambulance box, exactly the same size as a real one, has been set up to teach EMT students how to provide quality medical care in the confining space of an ambulance.”

"MTCC is the first college in North Carolina to have the most up-to-date version of Victoria, a medical simulation mannequin,” said Judy Melton, dean of health sciences, who has coordinated the creation of this lab. “We are excited to have the latest, cutting-edge technology on campus to assist our health science students in attaining their educational goals.”

“I am convinced that students trained in our new lab will be some of the best-prepared health care providers anywhere,” said Gossett. “We are raising the overall skill level of our students and they, in turn, will raise the level of patient care in medical facilities and emergency settings throughout the region.”

Gossett thanked those who contributed to the project: “While we receive the lion’s share of our funding from federal, state and local government sources, we could not possibly offer the quality of education we provide without these partners and benefactors.”

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