A qualitative study of the development of a health sciences center at a two-year community college.
One purpose of this research was to investigate the dynamics of collaboration in the formation of a health sciences center at a two-year college. Another purpose was to propose guidelines that other community colleges could use in establishing similar healthcare training facilities, ones that place a heavy emphasis on human simulation. The overarching research in this investigation was, “What factors played an important part in the collaborative effort to create an innovative healthcare educational complex at a community college?” This 2006 study relied on a case study methodology to examine the collaborative process. There were six research questions related to: 1) establishing collaborations, 2) sustaining collaborations, 3) evolving processes, 4) critical events, 5) threats to success, and 6) the importance of human simulation. Interviews were carried out with 25 individuals who came from the college, local hospitals, the city, donors, manufacturing, and design staff. Data were collected from the participants using the qualitative responsive interviewing technique of Rubin and Rubin (2005). A total of 236 concepts were identified in the analysis of the interview transcripts. These concepts were then reduced to the most important 28 concepts related to the Health Sciences Center’s (HSC) success. From the 28 derived concepts, 5 major factors were identified and presented as recommendations for the development of HSCs. These factors were: 1) strong leadership, 2) collaborative efforts, 3) adequate fundraising sources and strategies, 4) good communication, and 5) need for simulation technology. An eleven step process was further developed, presented, and discussed in an attempt to help two-year colleges in the establishment of such centers. This process included consideration of the following areas: 1) scope, 2) collaboration, 3) leadership, 4) trust, 5) community 6) communication, 8) funding, 9) design, and 10) construction/use. It is hoped that the findings of this study might be useful for other community colleges contemplating the challenging task of building their own health sciences training facility.