Updates from Johnson County Community College: Collaboration meets innovation

Did you know Johnson County Community College is one of the first community colleges to have an in-house, student and faculty-led research project that has received a patent and gone to market? The SAFingerStick™ Glucose Testing Simulation Kit is a true testament to the innovation and thought-provoking work that characterizes JCCC.

Taking Glucose Testing to the Next Level

Sampling blood for glucose is a key concept learned by nursing students. Until recently, this skill was typically studied via video without hands-on training. Not anymore.

JC3 Innovations™, an emerging healthcare products developer/retailer based at JCCC and a legal division of the JCCC Foundation, developed the SAFinger overlay. A reusable, plastic, finger-shaped device that feels like human flesh, the SAFinger overlay allows students of all academic levels to realistically learn how to:

  • Perform blood finger punctures without piercing a patient’s hand
  • Gauge how much pressure is needed to obtain a blood sample
  • Use a glucometer
  • Understand the process of obtaining glucose data during simulation

You’re probably thinking, “How does this work?” Here’s an overview: The plastic finger can be placed over the finger of another person or a manikin. Then, the finger’s hollow middle section allows a simulated blood solution to be injected by faculty members and later drawn out by students in the glucose testing process.

Collaboration Meets Innovation

From ideation to creation, the SAFingerStick Glucose Testing Simulation Kit has been driven by JCCC students, faculty and staff. The product was originally developed by Dr. David Zamierowski, a retired plastic surgeon, and Kathy Carver, a JCCC Nursing Professor.

After receiving a patent in October 2012 that allowed Dr. Zamierowski and Carver to create a number of training devices for students, they donated the patent to the JCCC Foundation. This allows money derived from the product to fund JCCC student scholarships.

Dr. Zamierowski and Carver’s partnership was only the beginning of the collaborative process. Here are just a few ways other students and faculty got involved:

The JCCC Kansas Small Business Development Center (Kansas SBDC), an on-campus resource that helps entrepreneurs and small businesses start and grow, partnered with the JCCC Foundation to form JC3, and advised throughout the process.

Graphic design students participated in the logo development and packaging design process for the SAFingerStick.

Marketing and Management students contributed to and observed the process of getting a new product to market.

“JC3 can now support our future students and faculty with a process for taking innovative ideas to the world market, while focusing on the learning experience,” said Carver. “This once-in-a-lifetime learning experience comes from the real-life spirit of collaboration and teamwork of JCCC’s students, faculty and community partners.”

After launching the SAFingerStick in June 2017, 715 SAFingerStick overlays have been sold to universities and institutions around the country and globe.

Challenging the Norm

While it’s uncommon for community colleges to develop and commercialize product technologies, the success of SAFingerStick demonstrates JCCC’s commitment to uncovering new solutions that facilitate and advance the student experience.

Visit JCCC’s website to learn more about SAFingerStick or to place an order.