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Nurses look over program during reunion

10/7/2012

By RANDY GONZALES

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

She could breathe, blink her eyes, cry, perspire, have body tremors -- even talk.

The mannequins used in the Fort Hays State University nursing department have changed through the years, reflecting the advances in the department itself.

The department held a 60th anniversary reunion Saturday, and gave tours of Stroup Hall.

"It's pretty amazing compared to when I was here," said Amy Duensing, a 1996 FHSU graduate. "Much more hands-on and real (than) the mannequins we had when I was here. Much more advanced.

"We just had a few practice rounds with a few mannequins," she added. "Some of them weren't even full mannequins, just partial body parts that you worked on."

Duensing, who is a nurse with the Veterans Administration in Topeka, marveled at how nursing students now can practice hearing chest sounds from the mannequins.

"I think the most amazing thing is the simulators they have now, the ability to actually hear their heart and lung sounds," she said. "When I was learning, you had a cassette tape you could listen to, but never actually heard it until you got out, into the field."

Jo Ann Doan retired three years ago as a teacher in the nursing department at FHSU. She started college at Fort Hays in 1960, and had classes under Leora Stroup, the former dean of the School of Nursing, and who the building was named after when it was opened in 1981.

"She was always very congenial, but very strict," Doan said.

Doan was pleased the nursing building was named after Stroup.

"It was wonderful," she said. "She was the neatest person I've ever known in nursing."

Before Stroup Hall was completed, nursing classes were scattered throughout campus.

"We had been in the older structures," Doan said. "We had been in the attic of Albertson, and upper, outer reaches of the coliseum. We were sitting on crates over there; we did have chairs, eventually."

It took Doan approximately 20 years to graduate with her degree at FHSU, in 1984. Previously, she had a three-year nursing program she completed in 1963, so Doan has had a first-hand look at the nursing department through the years.

"When we came over (to Stroup Hall), we had a lab set up for computers, which was a dream," she said. "(We) had this big area to practice with mannequins, had individual classrooms.

"It was wonderful."