A lot can happen in 50 years, especially in the rapidly changing field of health science.
In the year 2062, students at Howard Community College in Columbia will be able to see just how much has changed in their fields when they open a time capsule sealed Wednesday by current health science students in their brand new building.
Dozens gathered in the lobby of the school's new Health Sciences Building to commemorate a time capsule filled with the tools of their trades — tools that will likely be antiques by the time the capsule is reopened.
Among the dozens of health science items placed in the time capsule, including a textbook signed by nursing students, photos, a pedometer, Band-Aids and X-rays, some were already antiques, like two caps that were once part of a nurse's uniform.
"Fifty years ago, we wore these with much pride, and now we use them as symbols, ceremonially," said Donna Minor, director of the nursing program. "Fifty years from now, we probably won't even be talking about them."
Many things will change when it comes to health care, said Georgene Butler, division chair of health sciences and nursing professor.
"Technology is so swift," she said. "It would be my guess that most of the items in the time capsule will be very dated. ... We'll see a huge shift in the way things are done in the future. I cannot begin to imagine the amount of development that will take place to make things better, faster."
One thing that won't change, however, is the caring, Butler said.
"The care, and the care models, those are constant," she said. "They are the basis for all that we do. How we act on that care has changed since the beginning of time."
Ground was broken on the $50.7 million, 112,692 square-foot building in early spring 2011, and the building will open in January 2013. Currently, there are about 2,116 students taking health science courses, many of whom will be attending classes in the new, state-of-the-art building.
The new building will house the cardiovascular technology, emergency medical services, exercise science, life fitness, health care, health education, human services, nursing, nutrition, radiological technology and public health programs. The new programs of dental hygienist, medical laboratory technician, medical diagnostic sonography and physical therapist assistant will also be housed in the new building.
"To me, this represents growth," said Minor, who started working at HCC in May 2011 — when the building was a literally a hole in the ground. "For me, personally, it's exciting to be a part of this experience."
Butler said the new building is a chance to expand, and to meet the needs of the health care workers.
"We have everything in here to keep us on the cutting edge, so that we can educate as best we can," she said.