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Gift from late nurse's friends, family benefits Victoria College students

Jan. 21, 2012 at 9:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 21, 2012 at 7:22 p.m.

VC nursing students Angie Loa, right, and Danielle Garcia practice birthing techniques with the new Mama Natalie Birthing Simulator.

Thanks to Dorothy Nobles' family, Mama Natalie, a new birthing simulator, has come to Victoria College.

When Nobles, a retired vocational nurse, died last summer, many of her friends and family who attended her funeral left monetary donations in her honor.

Her family, including husband Jerry Nobles, chose to give her memorial donations to the Victoria College Foundation with the stipulation that the money be used for the college's Vocational Nursing program.

"My wife worked as a licensed vocational nurse for 35 years," said Nobles. "She retired in 1997, but she always loved nursing and I couldn't think of a better place to send the contributions."

Becky Barfield, Vocational Nursing Program coordinator, said choosing how to spend the donation was challenging at first.

"When I approached the program faculty about how to spend the money, it was unanimously decided that we should use the Nobles donation on a reusable resource ... but no one knew exactly what we should get," she said.

After asking around for ideas among colleagues at a recent Texas Association of Vocational Nursing Educators conference she attended, the Mama Natalie Birthing Simulator was recommended to Barfield.

Manufactured by Laederal, the portable Mama Natalie Birthing Simulator gives students hands-on practice in assessing the stages of labor, along with how to deliver and care for a newborn infant.

Additionally, a range of birthing complications may be simulated, allowing students to practice handling emergency situations.

Nursing instructor Kristi Pfeil plans to begin using the Mama Natalie simulator in her classes this semester.

"I'm excited to use Mama Natalie in my classes this semester," said Pfeil.

Because this simulator is portable, it can be used at the college's other nursing schools in Cuero, Hallettsville and Gonzales.

Angie Loa, one of Pfeil's students, is looking forward to her neonatal training later in the semester.

"I'm amazed at how compact this training equipment is, while still offering such a range of simulation possibilities," Loa said.

Additionally, Nobles' gift will go well beyond helping future nurses in Victoria.

For each Mama Natalie Birthing Simulator purchased for use in the United States through 2012, Laederal will donate another Mama Natalie Birthing Simulator to global health programs in developing countries.

Such countries as Africa and India still experience high infant and maternal mortality rates due to a lack of training for health care workers.

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