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Sacred Heart Donation Boosts CVTC Health Programs

CVTC radiography students Alanna Hanson (left) and Kristin Hoffman, explore the new portable x-ray machine.

Eau Claire, WI – When Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) Radiography students went to their clinical assignments at area health care facilities, they often saw something they had never seen before: a portable x-ray machine. The machines will no longer be new to CVTC students, however, thanks to a generous donation from Sacred Heart Hospital.

Sacred Heart Hospital’s radiology department has donated a portable x-ray machine to the Radiography program at CVTC for student learning. The students will be able to train on the portable machine as well as other CVTC X-Ray equipment and be better prepared for their clinical experiences, and the workforce. The machine is valued at $4,000.

“About 25 percent of all procedures done in an imaging department are done on portable machines,” said CVTC Radiography Program Director Deb Kjelstad. “Up to this point, we haven’t had a chance for students to practice on portable machines until they get to their clinical experiences. Some have never even seen a portable machine.”

Portable machines are often used for patients in critical care or in trauma situations, or whenever it is impractical or impossible to take a patient to a radiology department.

“Students have to use critical thinking skills in those kinds of situations,” Kjelstad said.

Sacred Heart’s donation means students will be able to simulate such situations in the lab, not only providing experience in using a different machine, but experience in dealing with critical situations.

Twice a year, students in CVTC health care programs, including Nursing, Respiratory Therapy and Paramedic, work together with local professionals in intense multi-disciplinary training scenarios. The simulation will take place on October 25. 

“Now with the availability of a portable X-Ray machine, Radiography students can be involved in the multi-disciplinary training sessions,” Kjelstad said.

Kristin Hoffman, a radiography student from Eau Claire and one of six students to receive an alumni scholarship from the CVTC Alumni Association said “there are a lot of nerves going into your clinical site and practicing on this machine we help us feel more confident.”

“We are excited to have access to this machine while we are at CVTC. We will be better prepared for our clinical sites and for our professional careers,” said Alanna Hanson, a radiography student from Almena.

Kjelstad said the machine has uses across the health care disciplines at CVTC. For example, portable
X-Ray machines are often used when patients are undergoing dialysis, providing the opportunity for Renal Dialysis Technician program students to experience how it fits into their work.

The donation was made Friday, June 6 as Sacred Heart Hospital’s radiology department completes the modernization of its digital portable x-ray machine fleet. The upgrades to digital equipment made the hospital’s last analog portable x-ray unit surplus.

“We’re happy to be able to donate this equipment to CVTC and put it to good use, which will be used to educate many generations of radiology professionals,” said Mike Dillon, director of radiology at Sacred Heart Hospital.”

“We are very grateful to Sacred Heart Hospital for providing this valuable equipment to enhance CVTC’s health care programs,” said Aliesha Crowe, executive director of the CVTC Foundation, which coordinated the donation on behalf of the College. “We continue to have close working relationships with area health care providers and others who recognize how helping students at CVTC pays dividends for their organizations in the future.”

“Sacred Heart Hospital has long been a valuable partner for CVTC, as a clinical site for students in our health care programs, as a source of experts in various medical fields, and as an employer of choice for CVTC graduates,” said CVTC Dean of Health and Emergency Services Shelly Olson. “This donation will only strengthen our relationship while providing new experiences for our students.”

Chippewa Valley Technical College delivers superior, progressive technical education which improves the lives of students, meets the workforce needs of the region, and strengthens the larger community. Campuses are located in Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Menomonie, Neillsville and River Falls. CVTC serves an 11-county area in west central Wisconsin. CVTC is part of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and is one of 16 WTCS colleges located throughout the state.

About Sacred Heart Hospital
Sacred Heart Hospital is an affiliate of the Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1889 it has been meeting patient needs in western Wisconsin with the latest medical innovations and technology, together with a Franciscan whole-person healing tradition. For more information about Sacred Heart Hospital, visit

About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System is a Roman Catholic health care mission founded to continue the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. Sponsored by the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care framed in traditional values taught by St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi.  It is dedicated to serving all people, including the poor and the needy, at each of its 13
Local Systems in Illinois (Belleville, Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Highland, Litchfield, Springfield and Streator) and in Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Sheboygan and two in Green Bay). For more information about  HSHS, visit