Students in the Surgical Technology program at Kirtland Community College recently celebrated their chosen field’s national week.
Led by new, nationally renowned instructor and Association of Surgical Technologists National Surgical Board member, Nicole Claussen, students developed a deeper appreciation for their education and a stronger connection with fellow techs.
“We’ve been doing teambuilding exercises and lots of activities this week,” Claussen said.
The weeklong nod was created by the Association of Surgical Technologists back in 1984, in an effort to make a statement about the important role that surgical technologists play in the healthcare field. The AST Web site touted everything from badge holders and pens to personalized duffle bags. They also created a Facebook page so surgical techs from around the nation could share photos and stories.
Kirtland’s growing program already has a 100-percent job-placement record and it took a giant leap this fall with the addition of Claussen. She delivered a presentation on technology integration at a national conference last May and Kirtland decided to tap into the Michigan native’s expertise.
“We’re transitioning surgical tech to iPads and electronic textbooks,” she said.
The college also is on track to have the programming aspect of its surgical tech program accredited. All of its other education programs already are accredited.
“Programmatic accreditation is more in-depth and has very high standards,” Claussen said. “Students will be able to sit for the national exam. This is very noteworthy.”
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs will do an on-site evaluation after Kirtland does a self-study. CAAHEP reviews and accredits more than 2000 educational programs in 26 health science occupations.
Claussen is more than ready for the task. She was an instructor for 12 years and a program director in Missouri for nearly a decade. She meets twice each year with the AST board, and is set to speak in San Antonio and Puerto Rico in the next several months.
Claussen started her education at Baker College in Flint, and then earned her master’s degree from the University of Central Missouri.
“I’m happy to be home, and I’m really excited to be a part of Kirtland’s continued success,” she said.
Plans for the new accreditation already are underway and should be complete within a year.