Inside Ivy Tech: Care Packages

Two health-related programs upgrade their academic labs

Judging by the infectious smiles on Wendi Anspach and Jennifer Brinks’ faces earlier this fall, passersby could only speculate about what was on their minds.

Had they cashed in on a Powerball payload? Had they solved the mystery at Stonehenge? Had they figured out how to prevent lumpy gravy?

Of course, none of these scenarios was accurate for the respective Therapeutic Massage and Respiratory Care program chairs at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast. Their shared glee was in response to long-awaited news: new curriculum labs for both programs—labs that will dramatically enhance teaching and learning in their academic disciplines.

Healing touch

Therapeutic massage major Allie Bowman gains practical experience at Healthy Essence, Ivy Tech Northeast’s new student-run massage lab. Students will provide one-hour Swedish massages to clients on select days during the College’s fall and spring semester calendars.

Cue the soft lighting, hypoallergenic lotion, and recorded sounds of nature.

Fort Wayne’s latest massage clinic debuted at Ivy Tech Northeast in late September.

Therapeutic Massage Program Chair Wendi Anspach is hopeful that providing a supervised therapeutic service at a fair price will draw numerous clients to the student-run clinic, and program majors like Allie Bowman are wagering on their own experience and professionalism to keep them coming back.

Healthy Essence—the new clinic’s name, based on a composite of student suggestions—operates in a large converted classroom on the Coliseum Campus. Inside, ceiling-to-floor sliding privacy curtains partition four distinct areas, replete with padded massage tables and fresh linens.

The clinic gives therapeutic massage students the opportunity to practice their techniques on paying customers, as well as juggle business operations by scheduling appointments and processing payments. They will no longer be required to find their own clients, transport their personal massage tables, and launder their linens.

“I think this clinic will be great for the public to see first-hand what we learn and experience,” Bowman says. “We will be working under supervision, and I honestly prefer that because I might have a question based on a client’s condition that I’m unfamiliar with.”

Practice is exactly what the students will get.

By the time they graduate, those earning a technical certificate will have completed 750 contact hours or satisfy a 1,200 contact-hour requirement for an associate degree. Both figures exceed the state minimum of 500 contact hours to become a licensed massage therapist.

Clients can expect a basic one-hour relaxation massage commonly referred to as a Swedish massage. Select students will have more advanced skills depending on their training and experience. These options will be discussed with clients at the intake stage, Anspach says.

Students having completed the program’s Massage Through the Lifespan course, for example, will have specialized knowledge in working with a variety of geriatric, pregnant, or physically disabled clients.

“The community already appreciates the level of professionalism that our students walk out the door with and as they become employed; they set the bar,” Anspach says. “This clinic can only reinforce that and raise the bar even higher because they are going to be graduating with actual clinic experience now.”





Open for Business
Fall and Spring College Calendar

  • Coliseum Campus, Room 1783
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:30–8 p.m.
  • Fridays, 11:30 a.m.–6 p.m.
  • Saturdays, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

260-482-9171 ext. 2751 or

$25 for the public; $20 for Ivy Tech Northeast employees
and students, military personnel, and seniors (55 and older)

Breath of fresh air

Respiratory Care majors David Tarbet (left) and Hayden Koontz evaluate a mock patient in the program’s new academic lab. The new space offers more than double the square footage  of the former lab and includes a clinical instruction classroom, an eight-bed simulation lab, and a storage support room. Photo by Zeke Bryant
Respiratory Care majors David Tarbet (left) and Hayden Koontz evaluate a mock patient in the program’s new academic lab. The new space offers more than double the square footage of the former lab and includes a clinical instruction classroom, an eight-bed simulation lab, and a storage support room.

As far as Respiratory Care Program Chair Jennifer Brink is concerned, growing pains are a good problem to have.

Nearly every attribute associated with the program’s hands-on learning has been evaluated and modified for the better:

  • The program’s 930-square-foot workspace has more than doubled to 2,200-square feet via a new location, accommodating a clinical instruction classroom, eight-bed simulation lab, and storage support room.
  • Each patient bed has access to piped-in air, oxygen, vacuum suctioning, and a ventilator, allowing for eight different patient simulations at once.
  • Mechanized beds and privacy curtains found in contemporary hospital rooms have been incorporated.

One thing that isn’t expected to change is the program’s competitive enrollment, which is capped at two 14-student cohort groups each school year.

Brink points out that the most important expansion may not be the most visible one: student learning.

“My expectation is that our students will be much more prepared because of this new space,” she says. “The less stress, the better they learn since the equipment-per-student ratio has gone way up. It’s going to make for better prepared students, clinically, which translates to better patient care.”

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