Alumnus, corporate partner deliver new technology to college

Published 09.08.2020

Nursing & Health Sciences
Surgical Technology
Alumni News
Student News
Applied Health Studies

A Pennsylvania College of Technology alumnus, now senior clinical engineering director for UPMC in the Susquehanna region, collaborated with a DuBois-based provider of pre-owned medical equipment to place highly valued technology into the hands of health science students.

James R. Fedele facilitated the donation of a GE Medical Systems C-Arm and workstation through a partnership with KMA Remarketing Corp. The technology will afford students the opportunity to learn through hands-on, simulated experiences in the instructional setting, which will increase their efficiency in clinical operating rooms.

Alumnus James R. Fedele joins recent radiography grads Cheyenne M. Higgins (center) and Alexis G. Yon with donated equipment in the lab. (Yon is reenrolled for fall, continuing coursework toward a bachelor's in applied health studies: radiography concentration.)“The skills I learned in college gave me a great foundation to grow and advance throughout my career,” said Fedele, who earned an associate degree in electronics technology in 1985. “When the radiography director informed me that there was a need, I naturally wanted to do my best to help. What started as just setting up an area for students to complete their final coursework to graduate turned into finding a unit we could donate to the college as a permanent solution.”

The mobile C-Arm unit will allow radiography and surgical technology students to:

  • Learn all locks and controls on the equipment prior to clinical experience

  • Practice draping the equipment for surgical procedures and maneuvering the equipment around a sterile field

  • Practice and learn room setup for various procedures in a hands-on environment

  • Practice maneuvering and working with equipment during procedures without the stress and pressure of actual OR procedures

  • Organize blended learning opportunities for student collaboration across both programs

“We are most grateful for James and his advocacy for applied technology education, empowering workforce readiness in our students,” said Elizabeth A. Biddle, director of corporate relations. “Without strong alumni and corporate partnerships, applied instruction is not maximized. We thank KMA for this new partnership and continue to thank UPMC. The longtime collaboration between UPMC and Penn College truly advances tomorrow.”

Prior to Fedele’s donation, students would have scheduled learning time on C-Arms in clinical and live operating rooms. Although learning was sufficient for experience on the technology, challenges existed because this was live usage on real patients in the operating room. Having the equipment on campus will give students additional time prior to clinical usage, helping them to gain confidence and experience.

“Clinical evaluations are completed during the last two semesters of our program. Due to COVID-19 restrictions (in the spring), students were not permitted to complete their clinical experiences in the OR,” said Christine L. Eckenrod, radiography program director. “This was a huge obstacle as students need to demonstrate skill using OR equipment to complete their coursework.”

Fedele arranged for radiography students to use a decommissioned operating room in which to practice and then simulate their skills using the C-Arm, Eckenrod explained. The Penn College radiography team coordinated small-group student experiences to complete the necessary requirements over a three-week period at UPMC Williamsport, Divine Providence Campus.

“Often in the OR, technologists take over more complicated procedures, not affording our students much experience with harder exams,” she added. “Now we can simulate these various experiences in a hands-on environment on campus prior to their clinical experience.”

“The C-Arm will provide an opportunity for surgical technology students to practice their aseptic technique in draping the device – a challenging task,” said Scott A. Geist, director of the college’s surgical technology program. “It will also provide the students an opportunity to manage their surgical procedures with large equipment in the operating room.”

Penn College offers associate degrees in radiography and surgical technology, each of which can be continued to a bachelor’s degree in applied health studies with an additional two years of study. For more information, call 570-327-4519 or visit the School of Nursing & Health Sciences.

For more about the college, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.