Health sciences centre puts St. Clair College on the map

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Source: Sharon Hill/Windsor Star

St. Clair College and its $32 million Centre for Applied Health Sciences leads Ontario colleges in attracting first-year, health care students.

“For the last four years we have been over 1,600 students intake in health sciences programs. That’s the highest of any college in the province of Ontario,” associate vice-president of academics Waseem Habash said Friday.

Habash called the 100,000-square-foot Centre for Applied Health Sciences and all the programs that can be run in the hospital-like facility a jewel.

“It puts us on the map in terms of being a destination college for students in the province in terms of health sciences,” he said. “We have the largest intake, we have the state of the art facility, we have great teachers and students want to come to Windsor.”

In 2011, St. Clair College had 1,727 first-year, health care students. Habash said that topped Georgian College in the GTA with about 1,100 students and Fanshawe College based in London with more than 900 students.

The $32 million Centre for Applied Health Sciences opened in the fall of 2011. The facility allows students in different programs to work together the way health care workers would in a hospital. Teachers can simulate a code blue like a hospital and simulation mannequins that sweat, bleed and even talk (through a person in another room) can give students a better idea of what it is like to work on a real patient, he said.

The college added three new programs that year: cardiovascular technology, respiratory therapy and digital sonography to a long list of programs for nurses, dental hygienists and assistants, personal support workers, paramedics, pharmacy technicians and medical laboratory workers.

Patti France, senior vice-president of St. Clair College operations, said last year the number of students entering the health sciences courses was 1,677. That’s more than double the 794 students in 2003.

The number of applications for the health sciences has also been increasing, she said.

It’s too late to try to get into the September courses. Because of limited clinical placements for students many of the popular programs have long waiting lists. France said there are 767 applications for just 18 seats in the digital sonography program, 250 applicants for 28 cardiovascular technology spots and 294 applications for just 28 respiratory therapy spots.

Because there are caps, Habash said students need to have marks in the 80s to get in depending on the program. Habash credited the local medical centres and hospitals for taking students for clinical placements. Habash said hopefully when the students graduate they will stay in Windsor.