March 31, 2006

WNCC Nursing Program Receives $60,000 Gift

A family connection to nursing, and a newspaper article about generosity to Western Nevada Community College have led to a $60,000 donation for the college's highly regarded nursing program.

Locke Lesch was reading the newspaper one day and saw an article about a donation that Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center recently made to WNCC. At the time, Lesch and his wife, Betty Ray, were considering organizations both nationally and locally to earmark for a personal donation. Coupled with the fact that their granddaughters were both nurses, the Lesch family decided to donate $60,000 to WNCC for high tech nursing education equipment.

"We want to make good use of the funds we have," Locke said. "We were looking at programs all around the country and WNCC seemed to be the perfect fit."

With the donation, WNCC will purchase equipment that simulates illnesses in a computerized baby mannequin, requiring student nurses to work under pressure. A new IV machine, glucometer, abdominal palpation model, venous training arm, intramuscular injection hip, and various computer programs and graphics will help students prepare for the illnesses and injuries they will face on the job.

"We are very grateful for this," said Dr. Judith Cordia, WNCC director of Nursing and Allied Health. "This really helps us to move forward and further develop our labs."

The equipment will be used at the college's Carson City and Fallon nursing labs. There, students get to experience bedside care simulations that are very close to reality in a safe, controlled environment. They can listen to real-life sounds in the bodies of the nursing mannequins, who can even talk, cough, and sweat.

Nursing faculty can observe students from a nearby room where they speak into a microphone and emulate a patient with symptoms. Students hear the voice coming from the mannequin. "It's about as close to reality as you can get," Cordia said.

The college plans to name its Carson City simulation lab the Betty Ray and Locke Lesch Nursing and Allied Health Simulation Laboratory, in recognition of the couple's generosity.

WNCC will also honor them at the annual nursing pinning ceremony in May. "This is an example of two people really making a difference," said Cordia. "This gift is really for everyone in Carson City and Fallon because many of the nurses who graduate from our programs will be caring for people in their communities."

For additional information, please contact:
WNC Information and Marketing Services
2201 W. College Parkway
Carson City, NV 89703
Phone: 775-445-3234
Fax: 775-445-3198

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