Hawkeye Community College Unveils New Virtual Hospital Featuring Education Technology Unique in the Midwest

By: Public Relations and Marketing
Date Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012

WATERLOO—Hawkeye Community College unveiled their new Virtual Hospital to the community, showcasing education technology that is unique in the Midwest. The new Virtual Hospital and simulation labs use state-of-the-art technology with realistic computerized full-body manikins, 3D imaging software, medication management system, and a web-based electronic medical records system replicating a medical facility.

Hawkeye’s new cutting-edge labs are able to create a broad range of hospital settings including emergency room, intensive care, labor and delivery, exam rooms, and many other patient scenarios. With more than 20 manikins, Hawkeye’s simulation labs have the depth and diversity of manikins covering a lifespan: birthing mom, infant, pediatric, and all stages of adulthood.
The computerized manikins sometimes referred to as the “Sim Family” are made by the manufacturer, Laerdal. These patient simulators are able to imitate most bodily functions including breathing sounds with chest movement, open and close their eyes, bleed from a wound, recognize and respond to drugs, replicate seizure and convulsions, produce bodily secretions, have a heartbeat, and much more. The simulators are used to train students in starting an IV, performing CPR, intubating a patient, defibrillating a patient, and just about any patient scenario in which the instructors would like the students to become more competent and skillful.

Additionally, Hawkeye is the first community college to incorporate 3D body imaging software, BodyViz, into their curriculum. BodyViz software creates 3D images from MRI and CT scans allowing students to explore the human body by examining body tissue and looking for disorders or diseases. Students are learning the internal anatomy with the same technology used by surgeons in planning complicated and delicate procedures.

Hawkeye has incorporated the virtual hospital into all areas of their nursing and health science programs’ curriculum. Students are able to practice real life patient scenarios in a controlled environment before they step foot in a hospital or medical facility for their clinical rotation – giving students a real advantage. Students can experience and train in every imaginable patient scenario and make the necessary critical decisions without any patient consequences. Feedback is immediate on a patient case, and students are able to learn in a relatively short period of time what traditionally has taken years to learn on the job.

“The use of simulation labs provides a very comfortable learning environment for students and gets them excited about what they are studying. They start making the connections of how everything is interrelated to the overall patient care,” stated Tracy Elliott, Hawkeye’s virtual hospital coordinator. “It is so rewarding to watch these students not only advance their technical skills but also their soft skills in communication, working as a team, critical thinking, and dealing with stressful situations.”

Hawkeye is filling a huge need among employers and the community for skilled healthcare workers. In Iowa, the health career field is expected to grow by 26% in the next 10 years according to Iowa Workforce Development.

Hawkeye Community College’s president, Dr. Linda Allen stated, “The Virtual Hospital will help meet the demands of a growing and an ever-changing career field. With an aging population and with the continuous medical advancements made, Hawkeye will continue to be in the forefront of training the workforce. This technology will be used in every health science program in training workers as well as in the continuing education health care professionals need.”

The college’s healthcare programs include Nursing, Respiratory Care, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapist Assistant, Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene, Medical Laboratory Technology, and continuing education.

For more information on Hawkeye’s Virtual Hospital or one of their healthcare programs call 319-296-4000 or check out the website at