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Simulation lab under construction at ASUMH

A heart attack happens suddenly; a baby is born; mass casualties and injuries occur during a natural disaster: these will all take place in a brand new simulation lab on the Arkansas State University-Mountain Home campus this fall. Over the next three months, several classrooms and offices in Gotaas Hall will be redesigned and equipped with state-of-the-art equipment that will provide a setting that will appear to students just like a patient care unit at a hospital.

The classroom redesign and equipment purchase is part of a new focus on simulation for students in nursing and paramedic programs at ASUMH. This change will ensure students receive “directed learning” while in school. The benefits of learning in a simulation lab include the ability for instructors to “force outcomes” so that students experience a wide range of issues before they enter the workforce. “Our students have an opportunity now to spend quality clinical time in hospitals and nursing homes, but on a daily basis, we can’t predict what experiences those patients will have,” said Dr. Julia Gist, Dean of Health Sciences at ASUMH. “For example, when we are studying obstetrics and gynecology, a student might or might not experience a birth during their time at the hospital.” This new lab will allow instructors to direct learning with manikins for the lessons they are studying in class at the time. “If students are needing stroke or heart attack training, it’s not always guaranteed they will see those circumstances while they are in the actual facilities. We would simulate those lessons in the classroom on simulation equipment.”

The simulation labs will not take the place of the student’s time in an actual hospital or nursing home setting, but will augment those experiences. “Students in health sciences classes have a certain number of hours they are required to spend in a clinical setting. This on-the-job training prepares them for real-world experiences once they graduate,” said Dr. Julia Gist, Dean of Health Sciences at ASUMH. Since the state Board of Nursing allows for up to 50% of the required clinical work to be done in a simulation lab, ASUMH has dedicated the better part of a year to designing and equipping a new lab in Gotaas Hall.

“We have been meeting with faculty, industry providers, and consultants over the last twelve months to determine what kind of lab we would like to see at ASUMH. With Laerdal, one of the top providers in the nation of medical equipment, we will create a new teaching space with 3,200 square feet that will mimic hospital room settings with equipment and simulation manikins exactly like our students would see in a real-world situation.”

The total cost of the project is close to $500,000 and will be paid for with proceeds from the Gotaas Health Sciences trust at ASUMH. Dr. Bernice “Bea” Eileen Gotaas worked for years as a pioneering female physician in the Bull Shoals area. At her death in 2012, her estate left a gift of over $1,000,000 to be used for health sciences at ASUMH through a planned gift she had made to the college.

“The gift that Dr. Gotaas left through her will to ASUMH will put our Health Sciences School on the cutting edge of health education in the state,” said Dr. Martin Eggensperger, Vice Chancellor of Academics at ASUMH. “Laerdal has worked with our faculty to integrate simulation into the curriculum and to build a robust faculty and staff development program. This will allow us to conduct high-quality simulation grounded in educational theory, designed and delivered by qualified educators. Simulation will coordinate with our academic calendar and insure that our students see every scenario that they should, while they are enrolled at ASUMH.”

Dr. Gist continued that another benefit of incident simulation is that the full-scale patient simulation experiences can be videotaped while they are occurring and as students respond. Following the simulation, classes can watch an “instant replay” of the event so that everyone in the class can debrief and learn from the experience. These real-life scenarios promote critical thinking and provide a bridge between education and practice.

Laerdal was chosen as a partner in the design and development of the lab at ASUMH because of their partnership with the National League for Nursing. This collaboration has provided years of experience in the clinical setting and in the classroom to guide ASUMH’s faculty through the process of utilizing simulation, meet the college’s objectives and implement best practices in the classroom.

“The technology will work in harmony with our nursing program so that nursing professionals can improve patient outcomes,” added Gist.

When complete, the patient care unit will include medical-surgical simulation, pediatric simulation, obstetrics-newborn simulation, and ICU/ER simulation. Additionally, flexibility in the space will allow for simulation of long-term care and home health care.

“We are grateful to Dr. Gotaas for the gift she provided to advance health education in north central Arkansas. Our students will benefit from her legacy gift for years to come,” said Eggensperger.

For more information on the Health Sciences programs at ASUMH, contact Dr. Julia Gist at 870-508-6154 or Sarah Smith at 870-508-6266.

July 21, 2016 01:30:00 PM

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