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May 22
Nursing students gain cultural awareness at MPCC


MPCC nursing students Chelsie Markley, Candice Myers, Treu Gibson, Taylor Cooper and Brooke Rubenthaler assess a patient in the college's simulation lab in April. It was all part of a staged medical situation to teach the students about cultural diversity.   

It's not enough just to treat patients - the key is to give them the kind of care they've come to expect. 

At Mid-Plains Community College, the ability to recognize and accommodate the needs of people from various races and religions is a main component of the nursing curriculum. 

"We start emphasizing cultural sensitivity with our first-year students," said Marina Makovicka, a nurse educator and chair of the Health Occupations division at MPCC. "The issue is huge right now, and we dedicate about 20 percent of our studies to it." 

MPCC's nursing instructors have been teaching cultural awareness for about five years – ever since the department moved into a new Health and Science Center. However, the extent to which the subject is covered has increased just since last fall. 

"That's when we implemented a new curriculum," said Makovicka. "In the old curriculum, we only had one semester that addressed the sensitivity of different cultures. Now, it's something that is taught throughout the duration of the program." 

Although North Platte's population is not as diverse as other areas of the country, or even the state, Makovicka said local health care professionals are seeing an increase in certain groups. Those include Hispanic/Latino, African American, Asian, Native American, Indian, Guatemalan and Somali. 

According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. admitted 84,995 refugees in 2016 - the most since 1999. Nebraska, North Dakota and Idaho ranked near the top for the most refugees resettled per capita, with rates over two-and-a-half times the national average. Of those, 46 percent were Muslim. 

"It's important for our students to know who they could be treating," said Makovicka. "There's nothing more embarrassing for a nurse than to not have a clue about what a patient wants or needs. From the patient's standpoint, it's bad enough to be sick or wounded, but to not have anyone understand you – that's isolating." 

MPCC's nursing students begin learning about ethnic variations during classroom lectures. The instruction gradually becomes more in-depth, eventually transitioning over to a simulation lab.

There, students are placed in a mock hospital room with a patient simulator. They receive a report that includes the patient's name, age, religion and culture and are asked to respond appropriately to a staged medical situation. 

Makovicka uses a computer outside the staging area to control the simulator's requests and actions. She speaks for the simulator through an intercom and monitors the students' reactions through a two-way mirror. 

"I may put a wig on the simulator to make its appearance representative of particular race," said Makovicka. "I also usually have one of the students dress up to role play as the patient's family member." 

She might place foreign books, food and decorations around the room to heighten the effect. If a child simulator is being used, Makovicka will often lay a stuffed animal beside it and, give the toy a name commonly used by the culture she's trying to replicate. 

For first-year nursing student Donette Horn, of Ogallala, gaining a sense of the diversity that's around her has been eye-opening. 

"I didn't know that I could encounter so many different types of cultures in a rural Nebraska workplace," said Horn. "I'm glad I'm learning about them now as opposed to on the job. That way I can feel confident and prepared for any situation." 

While MPCC's nursing students aren't required to speak a foreign language, although that can be helpful, they are expected to know when to call a translator. 

"In the past, that used to be an in-person translator," said Makovicka. "Now, on-demand translating services are available. Nurses simply have to look up a number from a list of languages and dial it to create a conference call with themselves, the patient and an over-the-phone translator." 

MPCC's cultural instruction doesn't stop at language barriers, however. From there, the nursing students delve into customs, rituals and nonverbal communication.

"For example, many Asians don't like eye contact," said Makovicka. "To them, it's disrespectful, whereas to Americans, not making eye contact is disrespectful." 

Some religions, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, don't accept blood transfusions. 

There are also major variations in the way people enter and leave the world. 

"Differing cultures have certain ways they like to have babies delivered," said Makovicka. "Sometimes only specific things are allowed to touch the babies or mothers. In the Somali culture, everything has to be all white – the blankets, the sheets, etc. Anything other than white is not allowed near the baby." 

She said no one but the physician and father are allowed in the room during a Somali delivery. However, there is an understanding that if nurses need to intervene from a safety standpoint, they can. 

"Another thing that takes some getting used to is that the moms don't talk during a delivery – the husbands talk for them," said Makovicka. "Once the baby is born, anything used to wipe the child off must be touched by the mom first." 

Somalis have specific death rituals as well – one of those being that they take their loved ones home instead of to a funeral home. 

"Native Americans burn sage after a death," said Makovicka. "Hospitals allow it, and we need to be respectful of it. As nurses, we have to put aside any beliefs we may have that are contrary to the customs of others. Only then can we give stellar culturally-oriented patient care."

May 22
MPCC releases Dean’s List

The following students qualified for the Dean's List during the 2017 Spring Term at Mid-Plains Community College. To be eligible, they had to complete 12 or more applicable credit hours of college-level courses and maintain an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 – 3.89 on a 4.0 scale. 


Alliance - Jordan Mills, Renata Schoeneman 

Ansley - Kami Nelson 

Arapahoe - Bradley Wessels 

Axtell - River Straatmann 

Blair - Mark Starks 

Brady - Nathaniel Sitorius 

Broken Bow - Lezlee Griffiths, Shannon Pomplun 

Cambridge - MiKayla Kent 

Champion - Taylar Nickless, Richard Stolz 

Cozad - Elisha Keim 

Culbertson - Grant Wilkinson 

Edison - Kaylea Watson 

Gothenburg - Madison Gilg, Holly Williams 

Grant - Crystal Jones 

Hershey - Ashlee Pierce

Imperial - Celeste Juarez, Kymberli Rowley 

Kearney - Jasmine Johnsey, Nikolas Malleck 

Kimball - Tessa Opalinski 

Lexington - Luis Esquivel Saldana, Luis Gomez 

Maxwell - Jesse Carlyle, Kyra Frisbie 

Maywood - Dalton Littell 

McCook - Hope Garcia, Christopher Hammond, Connor Lepper, Natasha Ruppert, Daniel Swanson 

Mullen - Breanna Daly 

North Platte - Brock Alexander, Brayden Aufrecht, Roxie Baumgartner, Nathaniel Baxter, Tracy Blake, Carrie Boltz, Terry Brown, Camerin Burtle, Kayla Bush, Alexander Cahill, Rebecca Chessmore, Sarah Dillenburg, Roberta Eller, Tyler Erickson, Jessica Fernandez, Gabriel Gonzales, Javan Hansen, Jensen Hart, Anthony Hill, McKenzie Holmes, Jennifer Keck, Alexander Lopez, Summer Malsbury, Stephanie Manka, Susan Marquez, Justin Mayfield, Jaedyn Michaels, Kaden Morrison, Robert Park, Phebe Pavelka, Austin Phillips, Haley Piper, Sean Richter, Nicole Robinson, Michaela Schmid, JennaRae Taylor, Bryce Tullis, Joel Van Diest, Caitlyn Whitmore, Maximus Wohler 

Ogallala - Kaitlin Cipperley, Christina Fitzpatrick, Skylar Lapp, Kristani Mitchell, Brandon Raffaeli 

Omaha - Buomkuoth Dobuol

Oxford - Jacinda Vollmer 

Paxton - Lane Bergen, Rhett O'Connor, Carlos Zuniga 

Ralston - Kyle-Christian Siwa 

Riverdale - Regan Rasmussen 

Sargent - Rowdy Moon 

Scottsbluff - Alysianna Camacho, Courtney Miley 

Taylor - Elizabeth Ralls, John Schroder 

Valentine - Kyle Osnes 

Wauneta - Colby Cox 

Whitman - Shayna Kramer 


Moreno Valley - Shelley Heredia 


Brighton - Erin Renwick 

Broomfield - Alexandra Baldner 

Frederick - Samantha Foster 

Holyoke - MegAnn Hadeen 

Julesburg - Noah Blochowitz 

LaSalle - Samantha Gill 

Wheat Ridge - Shelby Belloni 


Lake Worth - Mike Amius 


Lahaina - Mikela Cabagua, Dianarey Talaroc-Kaniho 


Malad - Emma Sands 


Tribune - Holly Myers 


Lafayette - Keith Epps 


Sikeston - Erica Peet 

New Mexico 

Moriarty - Eileen Kugler 


North Las Vegas - Lindsey Fishman 

New York 

New York - Ronald Rice 


Warrenton - Robert Landwehr 


Houston - Andria Foreman 

Plano - Caroline Delatour 

San Antonio - Loren Lealiiee 

Sugar Land - Alexis Magana 


Rolling Hills - Emmye Bruno 


Melissa Hall 


Tyler Cox 

Angelica Evans 

Jason Hill 

Jacob Sanford 

Kendall Yasui 


Evawere Atunuwa, Chinedu Okonkwo 


David Niklasson 

May 22
MPCC announces President’s List

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The following students qualified for the President's List at Mid-Plains Community College during the 2017 Spring Term. To make the list, each student had to complete 12 or more applicable credit hours in college-level courses and maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 3.9 or greater on a 4.0 scale. 


Amherst - Sydney Taubenheim 

Arapahoe - Brittany Lamb 

Aurora - Taylor Stettner 

Bellevue - Allison Tichy 

Benkelman - FayeLee Sanford 

Brady - Allison Hood

Burwell - Shane Weber 

Ellsworth Mickenzie Brennan 

Elsie - Amanda Osler 

Farnam - Austin Boller 

Hayes Center - Joseph Anderjaska 

Hershey - Madison Hoatson 

Imperial - Kinberlyn Benitez-Aguilar, Charlie Carter, Eric Chavira, MaKenna Ketter, Alyssa Moreno, Kent Silvester 

Indianola - Michaela Holdcroft 

Kearney - Jessica Eckhout 

McCook - Jessica Alberts, Samuel Backer, Regina Burns, Ahria Golden, Molly Hardin, Emily Karr, Katelyn Kinne, Bailey Kool, Eric Langan, Brandon Molcyk, Tanner O'Neill, Jessica Premer, Riley Rambali, Nikki Riddle, Caleb Suda, Victoria Tietz, Caleb Trail 

Mullen - Jessica Lovitt 

North Platte - Charles Anderson, Duelly Baxter, Shelby Bokoskie, Leslie Borges, Justin Cosler, Robyn Daugherty, Adam Dobesh, Ivan Dobesh, Kayla Douglas, Andrew Feeney, Kaitlyn Hansen, Cody Harrison, Bradan Hengen, Mary Hills, Cory Holsapple, Jason Kosmicki, Cole Lewis, Morgan Libsack, Dru Linderman, Charles Martin, Samantha Mauch, Stephen Monfee, Roena Morton, Hannah Nelson, Mercedes Nolda, Andrew Pavelka, Ariel Quiroga, Cade Rasmussen, Korissa Runyan, Tate Simonson, Tanner Sims, Ian Smith, Teresa Smith, Austin Snyder, Luke Walker, Kandace Ward, Erica Whipple 

Ogallala - Lisa Birge, Justine Gall, Avery Unrein

Papillion - Garrett Heinert 

Paxton - Justin Marlow 

Sidney - Mikenna Curlee 

Silver Creek - Trey Engel 

Stapleton - Ashley Starr 

Sutherland - Jocey Nelson, Ashlie Walters 

Tryon - Michaela Schultis 

Valentine - Crystal Homan 


Eagle River - Katrina Arthen 


Colorado Springs - Dylann Bylund 

Fleming - Megan Chintala 

Frederick - Antonia Villani 

Haxtun - Deborah Kurtzer 

Otis - Antonya Schaffert 

Snyder - Shelby Wolever 


Malad City - Taya Thorpe 


Oberlin - Andrew John Wade 


Framingham - Nathan Duda 

New York 

Dansville - Elijah Hale 


San Antonio - Lexa Lealiiee 

Sugar Land - Alexandra Holm 


Torrington - Blake Knaub 


Godfrey Rolle 


Sarah Beaton 


Alejandra Vivar Aguilar

May 16
Lamb, Riddle receive MLT pins


Brittany Lamb, of Arapahoe, and Nikki Riddle, of McCook, are honored during a pinning ceremony Friday afternoon at North Platte Community College. Both are graduates of NPCC's Medical Laboratory Technician program.


May 16
ADN graduates receive pins

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Associate Degree of Nursing students and their instructors take time out for a picture prior to a pinning ceremony at North Platte Community College on Friday. The pinning served as a symbolic welcome into the nursing profession.

Thirty-one Associate Degree of Nursing students were recognized Friday during a pinning ceremony at North Platte Community College. The pinning served as a symbolic welcome into the nursing profession. 

Kathy Harrison, director of nursing, introduced the graduates. 

"You've been on a long journey and made many sacrifices," Harrison told them. "Through your determination, you have made it. Being a nurse isn't about the grades. It's about being who you are." 

The student speakers were Adrienne McDaniel, Kayla Dotson and Candice Myers. 

"These past two years have been a roller coaster of emotion, from highest of highs to lowest of lows," said McDaniel. "I think about how far we've come, from being strangers to becoming family. The memories, the friendships we've made - will last forever." 

Dotson called her experience at NPCC "incredible" and said she now feels prepared and confident to be a nurse. 

"This is only the start of the journey we will embark on," Myers said. "We have put so much time and hard work into getting this far. We have accomplished something significant. We have survived nursing school."" 

The following students received pins: 

Arnold - Mackenzie Kulp, Bre Anna Zierke 

Cozad - Krystal Hernandez, Temerree Maudlin 

Curtis - Chelsie Markley, Adrienne McDaniel 

Indianola - Justine Jones                   

Lewellen - April Toepfer 

Mason City - Stephanie Jensen 

McCook - Sadey Bessmer, Angela Watts 

North Platte - Andrea Alvarado, Kyla Bailey, Colleen Christensen, Kimberly Collins, Taylor Cooper, Bethany Daly, Kayla Dotson, Treu Gibson, Daphne Maaliao, Rachel Mullen, Candice Myers, Brooke Rubenthaler, Neissa Silos, Shea Simmons, Michelle Thursby 

Overton - Nicole Ackman 

Paxton - Rebecca White 

Sutherland - Brandy McConnell, Kristen Nelson     


Haiku - Kaile Jacobson

May 15
​STEM Summer Camp to be offered at NPCC
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High school students observe the sun using a solar eclipse kit created by Jared Daily, Physics and Engineering instructor at NPCC. Daily will teach a STEM Summer Camp in August. 

Registrations are now being accepted for a STEM Summer Camp at North Platte Community College. The camp will be Aug. 1-3 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day. 

It will be led by Jared Daily, Physics and Engineering instructor at NPCC, and will be worth one college credit. The camp is open to high school students ages 16 and older. 

"They can be just going into their junior year, leaving their senior year or anywhere in between," said Daily. "The goal is to try to open their minds, expand their understanding of the solar system and the Great American Eclipse and encourage them to pursue science and mathematics in their college and professional careers." 

The camp will begin with a discussion of the properties of planets and other objects in the solar system. Participants will then learn about the sun's energy, space travel and the eclipse, to include its rarity, importance and the science that will be simultaneously happening on Earth. 

"They will get to make their own eclipse in the classroom and will observe the sun as it is eclipsed," Daily said. "We will also build a scale model of the solar system." 

He will create a 6-foot sun out of fiberglass and foam, while the students paint, modify and hang steel balls to look like planets. 

The first 30 students to sign up for the camp will receive free tuition. Those interested can call the college's advising office at (308) 535-3701 to register. 

May 12
Bucklands recognized with President’s Award


Bonnie Buckland speaks during the commencement ceremony at North Platte Community College on Friday while her husband Bob looks on. The Bucklands received the college's President's Award.

About 240 graduates were recognized at North Platte Community College on Friday to the cheers of family and friends. The college conferred more than 200 degrees, about 25 diplomas and more than 30 certificates to the Class of 2017. 

Antonia Villani, of Frederick, Colo. was the commencement student speaker. She drew on her experiences of losing a brother and coping with debilitating spinal injuries while speaking about overcoming adversity. 

Robert "Bob" and Bonnie Buckland were presented with the President's Award. The purpose of the award is to recognize people who have had a positive impact on the college and who reflect exemplary community service. 

Bob was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he attended elementary school through sixth grade. His family moved to Omaha in 1956. 

Bonnie was raised on a farm in northeast Nebraska. She graduated from Pierce High School in 1963 then attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology on June 3, 1967. She married Bob the following day. 

Bob graduated from Omaha North High School in 1962. He played on the state championship football team his senior year and was an editor of the school newspaper.  

Like his wife, Bob also attended UNL, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in 1966. He graduated from what is now the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha in 1970. 

Bob then interned at Cedar Rapids, Iowa and served in the U.S. Air Force for three years.  He was stationed in the Panama Canal Zone and was second in command at the medical facility on Howard Air Force Base.  

After leaving the military in 1974, Bob entered the surgery residency program at UNMC.  He completed his residency in 1978 and moved to North Platte, joining the staff of Great Plains Regional Medical Center, now Great Plains Health, as a general surgeon. He retired from his surgery practice in 2006.  

Bonnie worked as a computer programmer for Mutual of Omaha while Bob was in medical school and again during Bob's surgery residency.  

After settling in North Platte in 1978, Bonnie engaged in numerous volunteer and civic activities, including two terms on the North Platte Public Schools Board of Education.  

She earned her Master of Business Administration degree from what was then Kearney State College in 1990 and her Ph.D. in Information Systems from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 1995.  

Bonnie served as the director of Information Technology at GPRMC from 1996-99 and then launched Buckland Consulting, LLC with her daughter Vickie. 

It was in that consulting capacity that Bonnie enjoyed a number of successful engagements with Mid-Plains Community College, including writing successful Higher Learning Commission Accreditation reports for MPCC in 2004 and 2012. 

She also wrote a successful $1.9 million U.S. Department of Labor Community-Based Job Training Grant application in 2005, a joint project that also benefitted Central Community College, and provided leadership and consultation for a computer information project during the 2004-05 school year. 

During his tenure in North Platte, Bob served on the city planning commission for 11 years, was the clerk of session at the First Presbyterian Church three times, was president of the local Rotary club for one year and was twice-elected chief of staff by the medical staff at GPRMC. He also served as a member of the GPRMC board of directors for a number of years. 

Bob and Bonnie co-chaired the NEBRASKAland Days Governor's Western and Wildlife Art Show for six years and also co-chaired the 2009-10 fundraising campaign for a Health and Science Center at NPCC. 

Bob and Bonnie are now both retired and living in Omaha. They keep busy with church and community activities and enjoy spending time with family. The Bucklands have two grown daughters and four grandchildren. 

May 11
Gift basket project will benefit child with cancer

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NPCC first-year nursing students Samantha Robins, Sabrina Stineman and Christina Blanton, all of North Platte, put together baskets of goodies for Aiden Solon, a local child with cancer. 

First-year nursing students at North Platte Community College continued their pattern of giving back to the community this week. They put together a gift basket for Aiden Solon, a second-grader from North Platte who has cancer. 

Members of NPCC's chapter of the Nebraska State Student Nurses Association began the gift basket project immediately after their campaign to replenish water supplies at local fire departments ended on Friday. 

"We just wanted to give Aiden something that he could use when driving to treatments or in the hospital," said Samantha Robins, first vice president of the NSSNA. 

To fill the basket, the nursing students asked for donations from local business and purchased items themselves. Toy cars, a teddy bear, clay, pencils, crayons, snacks and comic, activity and coloring books are just some of the goodies they compiled. 

The project grew as the donations streamed in. It now consists of two baskets, two cups and some stand-alone items such as magic kits. Solon's family will also receive numerous gift certificates to local restaurants. 

The college's nursing students helped Solon last year as well. They raised more than $2,000 for his travel and medical expenses through a "Run For Your Life!" 5K and Kids' Mile run/walk.

May 11
Children’s Choir Camp to be offered in North Platte

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Registrations are now being accepted for a children's choir camp May 30 through June 2 at North Platte Community College. 

The camp is open to all kids entering grades three through eight. It's intended to be a fun, educational experience for children who love music. 

Participants will sing songs, learn about the skills needed to be a musician and explore vocal techniques tailored for youth. No previous musical experience is required. 

Dr. Mirna Cabrera, music instructor for McCook Community College, will teach the camp from 8:30 a.m. to noon May 30 through June 1. 

The children will need to be at the college from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 2 and will have to take a sack lunch. That day, they will present what they have learned to family and friends. 

The cost of the camp is $75 per child. Jeff Smeltzer, Business and Community Education coordinator, is accepting registrations at, or (308) 535-3687. 

May 10
Free Youth ATV Training to be offered in Ogallala


The Business and Community Education department at Mid-Plains Community College will take its Free Youth ATV Training to the Nebraska Department of Roads in Ogallala on May 20. 

Additional trainings are planned for: 

  • May 23 – Thomas County Fairgrounds, Thedford
  • June 14 – Dundy County Fairgrounds, Benkelman
  • June 15 - Red Willow County Fairgrounds, McCook
  • June 21 -  Chase County Fairgrounds, Imperial 

There will be more than one session to choose from at each location. Classes will be divided by age group: 6-9 and 10-16. Six students from each age group will be allowed in each session. 

The curriculum, developed by Central States Safety Driver Training, will consist of a combination of safety instruction and guided, hands-on ATV operation. Participants will practice turns, stops and terrain navigation. 

Instruction topics will include ATV injury and fatality statistics, how ATV size can contribute to rollover injuries and fatalities, the dangers of carrying passengers and material on ATVs, risks of traveling on public roads and safety procedures and practices. 

Those who complete the program successfully will receive a certificate that aligns with insurance company requirements. 

ATVs in different sizes will be used during the trainings. Parents of children younger than 10 must stay for their child's class. 

Other requirements include:

  • Closed-toe footwear (preferably over the ankle)
  • Long, non-flare pants
  • A long-sleeved shirt or jacket
  • Approved eye protection (will be provided if a participant does not have any)
  • A helmet (will be provided if a participant doesn't have one) 

Space is limited in all classes. Pre-registration is required by calling (308) 535-3678.

The trainings are possible thanks to a grant from the CHS Foundation, of Inver Grove Heights, Minn. The money is administered through the North Platte Community College Foundation. 

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Heather Johnson
Area Communications Specialist

Heather produces and distributes press releases for the college. She began work at MPCC in 2014. Prior to that, she spent five years as the news director/web manager for Eagle Radio in North Platte. From 2009-2014 she worked as a reporter/photographer for The North Platte Telegraph. Heather has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Chadron State College.

Brent L. Cobb
McCook Community College News Bureau Coordinator​