Early Childhood Development Center Students Tour Islander Regional Hospital

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – As part of College and Career Readiness Week at the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC), 22 fifth-graders toured the College of Nursing and Health Science (CONHS) Simulation & Clinical Learning Center, better known as Islander Regional Hospital, on Sept. 19.   

The ECDC is an elementary school serving students age 3 through fifth grade that is operated jointly by the Corpus Christi Independent School District (CCISD) and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The ECDC works in close partnership with the College of Education and Human Development. The university benefits by using the site for research, educator training, and programming while the ECDC benefits from the university's facilities, innovative programming, and proximity to a diverse variety of educators and ideas.

 “My students got to visit a nursery unit, which I thought was amazing, because they can relate to that,” said Blanca Diaz, ECDC science teacher. “This experience definitely broadened their thinking as to what they could do in terms of a career in nursing.”

In Islander Regional Hospital, ECDC students were led on a tour by Dr. Julie Fomenko, Assistant Professor of Nursing and Health Sciences and Simulation Director, who introduced students to HAL, the high-tech manikin that can blink his eyes, speaks in multiple languages and can even respond to a change in light conditions.

“HAL has vital signs, he can breathe, he has pulses to feel and sounds to evaluate, he can have a seizure,” Fomenko said. “What we’re hoping to do with the ECDC students is open their eyes to health care and the different ways you can get into health care as well as all the different ways a nurse can function in the world.”

ECDC Principal Kellye Loving joined the tour group and said other student groups will get an opportunity to explore CONHS’ academic programs going forward.

“One of the things that I want to do as principal of ECDC is to get my kids out and on the university grounds more often and see everything that this awesome university has to offer,” said Loving, who is in her inaugural year as ECDC principal.    

In a Q&A session with Fomenko following the tour, ECDC students asked a range of questions, such as the worst injury she had ever seen and the use of technology in nursing.

Dr. Richard Ricard, Associate Dean of COEHD Graduate Programs, Research, and Community Engagement, also joined the tour group.

“Part of our experiment with the young students going to school on campus is they get exposed to a university environment,” said Ricard. “There’s a great deal of research and practical knowledge coming out of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and our College of Education and Human Development is coordinating partnerships on interdisciplinary work on health, education, and social capital.”  

Additional Information

Located on the university campus, the ECDC is the only CCISD school that presents its entire curriculum via dual language instruction in English and Spanish. Students are admitted to the ECDC by application, and applicants are selected so the student body represents the region's socio-economic and language demographics. For more information, visit http://ecdc.tamucc.edu/.