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Avon Park, Fla. — March 25, 2020 — South Florida State College’s (SFSC) Division of Health Sciences have donated over 5,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to local facilities in an effort to keep health care workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has taxed health care centers across the country,” said Dr. Michele Heston, SFSC dean of Health Sciences. “In addition to hand washing, the PPE protect healthcare workers and patients from the virus. Currently, there is a global shortage of PPEs, such a gowns, gloves, and masks.”
On Friday, March 20, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) issued a call to action, encouraging nursing programs across the United States to provide PPE to their community health care facilities during this crisis. In their statement, they pleaded: “With the pandemic spreading, the need for the PPE equipment is becoming more critical. No health care provider should be forced to reuse or make their own PPE equipment, thus putting themselves and other individuals at risk.”
Dr. Heston immediately asked directors of SFSC’s Nursing, Dental, and Radiography departments to take an inventory of their stock of PPE.
“In our lab settings, we use gowns, gloves, and masks to teach our students how to put them on and take them off properly,” Dr. Heston said. “We also use them in our simulation settings prior to going out to the hospitals for clinical experience. The College’s labs are suspended at the moment, so we don’t need these items. We want our local health care providers to have and use them.”
Three local facilities contacted Dr. Heston for the PPE—AdventHealth Sebring, Good Shepherd Hospice, and Lake Placid Health Care Center. SFSC donated to the three facilities over 1,000 gowns, over 1,000 masks, and over 3,000 pairs of gloves.
“We’re grateful to SFSC’s Nursing leadership for donating N95s and isolation gowns to our frontline workers, especially in this time of need,” said Elsie Graves, chief nursing officer at AdventHealth Sebring. “This personal protective equipment will keep our health care workers and patients safe from the spread of the coronavirus and other infectious diseases. One of the doctors was elated when she saw the PPE unloaded at the hospital. She said she is happy to know that our local college cared to keep our health care workers protected.”
“Chapters Health Foundation and Good Shepherd Hospice are so very thankful for the generous support provided to us by Dr. Heston and the College,” said Paula Creamer, director of philanthropy with Chapters Health Foundation. “This is a very difficult and stressful time for everyone, and it is a great feeling knowing there are community organizations like South Florida State College ready to so quickly stand with us and support our mission. This donation of personal protective equipment will ensure our frontline caregivers have the necessary supplies and tools to provide quality medical care and peace of mind to our patients and their families.”
“We want our health care professionals to know that we appreciate their dedication during this pandemic,” Dr. Heston said. “Many of them are SFSC graduates—That’s our family out there.”
SFSC offers health care degrees and certificates in Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Dental Assisting, Radiography, Phlebotomy, Health Services Management, and Health Care Services. For more information on any of these programs, visit Degrees and Programs on the College website or call 863-453-6661.