LSC-O’s New Medical Equipment Dispenses
More Than Just Knowledge

LVN student Jessica Worthy and pharmacy technology student Jonathan Savoy stand with the Meddispense machine

Students in the Allied Health department at Lamar State College-Orange are reaping the benefits of a new piece of equipment that is giving them a head start on their future profession. Students studying pharmacy technology and nursing now have the tool to learn how to dispense and administer medication, a skill that students in other programs, elsewhere, normally don’t learn until on the job.

The Meddispense 25 Base Mini Supply Automated Dispensing Machine with Omni-Directional Scanning Barcode Reader was delivered to the LSC-O campus on Jan. 13, after being purchased last September. Meddispense is a simulated medication dispenser that will be stocked with medications from mock orders so both pharmacy technology and nursing students can learn the necessary process for dispensing and administering medication to patients. The equipment is battery operated and has wheels for easy transportation from the pharmacy lab to the nursing lab for training.

“The most beneficial thing about this machine is that it is the real deal,” said Thera Granger, clinical coordinator for pharmacy technology at LSC-O. “This machine is the same one that is used in some of the area hospitals. Once our students learn and practice here on campus they will be more comfortable and educated about using the machine when on the job.”

When an order is “written,” the pharmacy students will load and adjust the patient’s profile accordingly; just like in an actual hospital.  The machine was pre-loaded with 16 mock patient profiles and enough room to hold more than 100 medications. The pharmacy technician students load each drawer with medications based on the need for the patients.  The nursing students use the machine in preparing for the skill of medication administration.

“It’s a great piece of equipment,” said Gina Simar, director of Allied Health. “Two different programs are sharing the benefits of LSC-O acquiring the machine.”

The Meddispense, which cost $20,000, was purchased through the Carl D. Perkins Grant, a long-standing federal grant that provides funding for career and technical programs. All of LSC-O’s business and service programs are technical, as is the criminal justice program, dental assisting, pharmacy technology and nursing.

“At LSC-O, the money is used for things such as paying for child care for students in technical programs, special populations advising, required Technical Programs’ Advisory Committee meetings, equipment and more,” said Carla Dando, dean of instruction. “As one of the career and technical programs on campus, the pharmacy technology and LVN programs benefit from the Perkins Grant.”

As the only accredited pharmacy program in the area to have the Meddispense, as well as the only nursing program in the area to have a simulated dispensing machine, Granger says what students are learning with the machine is invaluable.

“It’s very impressive for the clinical sites that our students are familiar with and able to operate the equipment with little or no additional training at their clinical site,” she said. “Students enjoy the learning experience and are even more motivated and excited to go to clinical.”

As clinical coordinator for the pharmacy technology program, Granger says that when she checks on her students at their clinical sites, she always asks the input of the staff on how to better prepare her students for their clinical experience and also how to improve the program at LSC-O. When all of her information is collected, she reports back to the advisory board and as a board they determine how to keep the program current with the needs of the industry.

“By obtaining this equipment,” she said, “we are definitely preparing our students to be successful in their clinical rotation and also for future job opportunities.”