Brad Brack, left, who is on the board of the Beard Land and Investment Co., is shown the training capabilities of the Advanced Critical Skills Lab by Memorial Medical Center NICU nurse Sonja Loehr and clinical nurse educator Penny Owen. The Beard company donated $100,000 toward the Skills Lab, which will provide Memorial nurses with the best training possible.
By Veronica Bartell, Vitals contributor
A Modesto man who survived a scare with COVID-19 led to a donation that is assisting registered nurses at Memorial Medical Center get the best training possible to provide the highest-level care in ICUs, the trauma center and other critical-care hospital units.
Dillon Olvera, president and CEO of Beard Land and Investment Co., donated $100,000 on behalf of his company to fund the remaining amount needed to make the Advanced Critical Skills Lab at Memorial Medical Center a reality. But the path that led to this gift was paved by an incredibly difficult time — one endured by someone on his staff.
In December 2020, one of Beard Land’s employees contracted COVID-19. Olvera, along with the rest of their team, became increasingly concerned due to this employee’s high-risk health status and quickly deteriorating health.
“He was admitted to Memorial Medical Center and almost immediately went into one of the ICU units,” said Olvera. “I was extremely concerned about his welfare and was truly worried that he could die from this.”
His employee struggled significantly, but due to the advanced care he received at Memorial, he began to improve two weeks into his ICU stay.
“He was fortunate that he had incredibly skilled nurses and doctors in that unit,” said Dillon.
Olvera’s employee was eventually moved out of ICU, and then finally back home.
“It got me thinking: How can we support the hospital, because we need that kind of care in our community,” said Olvera. “It’s our hospital of choice. We know the level of care that’s provided there and we’re lucky that it’s the hospital we have available to us in our community.”
Olvera decided to reach out to Memorial Medical Center CEO Gino Patrizio to see what opportunities were available to help the medical center.
“The Advanced Critical Skills Lab just totally resonated with us given what we just experienced with a teammate,” he said. “We know now that having the critical skills lab in place allows the ICU personnel to be better at what they do and that it’s not available everywhere.”
The lab is the second of its kind at Sutter Health and addresses the need for more ICU nurses and improved trauma-related nursing care in the region. Modesto Memorial Center is a Level II trauma center serving a many counties an remote areas in the Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada region.
“Our critical care team, including highly trained specialized physicians, have been recognized year after year for providing excellence in critical care,” said Craig Bosch, director of critical care at Memorial Medical Center. “This gracious donation from Beard Land and Investment Co. has made it possible for the creation of the Advanced Critical Skills Lab and comes at a much-needed time for our community as we are in need of more skilled registered nurses.”
The lab offers an elevated training program in Modesto, providing almost 2,000 bedside scenario simulations that prepares nurses for advanced emergency situations. It helps elevate the skill set of Memorial’s nurses and enables them to staff intensive care units, the Emergency Department, trauma units, the cardiac cath lab, neonatal intensive care and other units where these critical-care skills are needed. It also provides RNs a path for growth within the hospital.
The Skills Lab includes wireless human patient simulators — both adult and pediatric size – that enable healthcare educators to provide nurses with the most optimal clinical experience possible. The simulator reinforces a thorough patient assessment, enhances hands-on skills, replicates real-life situations and evaluates responses.
“We will continue to attract skilled professionals to work at Sutter Health with the addition of the lab, and we benefit from having increased training so that our patients continue to be in the best hands possible,” said Bosch.