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In early April, Butler Community College participated in the call for personal protective equipment donations by the healthcare industry. Personal protective equipment has been in short supply for health care workers across the country since the public health crisis began.
While Butler’s nursing program certainly had such supplies like masks, gowns and gloves, Butler’s contribution was a campus-wide effort. The auto collision repair program, the college’s student health care clinic, as well as the biology, fire science, EMT and allied health programs all donated supplies to three area hospitals to help keep health care workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Beth Eagleton, Butler associate dean of nursing and allied health, Butler collected supplies for area healthcare facilities at the suggestion of professional nursing associations.
In total, Butler contributed about $5,320 in equipment to Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital in El Dorado, the Kansas Medical Center in Andover, and Ascension in Wichita.
“It was mainly N95 masks, other isolation masks, gloves, gowns and disposable lab coats,” Eagleton said.
Because Butler’s locations are closed to the public, Butler’s campus police delivered the supplies to hospitals on April 3, Eagleton said.
“In all of our minds, it was a way to support our community in this time of crisis,” she said. “Although it wasn’t tons and tons of supplies, it was something we could offer back to help.”
In addition, Butler loaned a ventilator to the Kansas Division of Emergency Management after the State Emergency Operations Center requested ventilators to be redistributed throughout the state into areas of high need.
Many of the nurses at Susan B. Allen as well as other area hospitals received their training at Butler and performed their clinicals at Susan B. Allen. It was particularly gratifying because Eagleton knew some of the equipment might reach former Butler students working at the hospitals now as fulltime healthcare professionals.
Holly Landon, executive director of the Susan B. Allen Memorial Foundation and director of community relations for the hospital, said she put out a call to action on social media asking for help with supplies.
“We had a ton of PPE dropped off,” she said.
While the hospital hasn’t had any coronavirus patients yet, “our senior leadership team meets every day to prepare our hospital for the influx of patients that we’re anticipating,” said Landon.
Community members also have been sewing masks for health care workers, she said, adding the hospital is grateful for the help.
“So many of our nurses are Butler graduates,” Landon said. “I know a lot of them appreciate that Butler has stepped up to assist them as they are learning alongside these professionals who’ve been doing this for years and years.”
Jody Stephenson, chief nursing officer at Kansas Medical Center, said Butler reached out to the hospital about supplies. The hospital is using them for nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, radiology techs and other health care workers, said Stephenson.
Stephenson also expressed gratitude for the supplies adding, “It’s been overwhelming, the support we have received.”