The previous Iona M. Pettengill Nursing Resource Center was designed in a “ward” style when the Health Professions, Nursing and Pharmacy building was opened in 2003. Following an anonymous gift of $500,000 to the College of Nursing, the original center was named in honor of Iona Pettengill, a public health nurse who graduated from the college with a Master in Nursing in 1971.
In light of scientific advances and a move toward pedagogical teaching, the need became more apparent for upgraded simulation, virtual reality and a designated debriefing space.
“The new space has a large lab where skills needs can be met, but the bulk of space is allotted for simulation, with seven separate patient rooms that provide a realistic environment that mimic what students will encounter when they enter practice,” said Jane Gannon, DNP, CNM, CHSE, the college’s assistant dean of simulation-based learning. “Faculty no longer have to hide behind curtains and makeshift dividers to provide a voice to manikins. Now, faculty have a state-of-the-art control center where they can observe simulations underway and interact with students via manikins whose vocalizations, vital signs and responses can be controlled by the faculty facilitator. This enables evaluation and meaningful debriefing sessions that follow the simulations, with video playback of critical decision-making points during the simulation.”
Five patient care rooms are used for fundamental-based simulations like mobility, patient comfort, hygiene and basic-to-complex medical surgical care. The remaining two rooms are larger procedure rooms for more complex simulations, like labor and delivery, newborn assessment and carrying out life saving procedures.
The central control room houses all of the equipment that provides simulation scenarios, videotaping and other learning tools. The prep room holds all medications and supplies and provides a space for students to practice preparing medications.
An important component of nursing education is that each student receives timely, relevant assessments of their progress. In the debrief room, faculty and students will meet, either one-on-one or in small groups, to reflect on their simulation experiences and clinical performance.
The innovation studio is a multipurpose room for collaboration on interdisciplinary projects that will advance current and future health care environments, improve patient safety through the invention and testing of new products, and create synergy across the research-practice divide.
The skills lab allows ample space for students to practice health assessments and fundamental nursing techniques that are the basis and foundation for them to progress throughout their education. The open space of the room also makes it available for events and informal activities. Yuria Kusatake, a student in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, participated in a skills lab simulating injections and setting up IV medications on the first day of the spring semester. She said she feels more prepared and comfortable with these new skills when she enters the clinical setting.
“I will incorporate the skills I learned in administering injections, such as insulin, directly into my clinical practice this semester,” Kusatake said. “I can also transfer the sense of feeling like I’m in a hospital setting to my own practice wherever I go after graduation.
I think the more exposed I am to certain equipment and the overall medical environment, the more comfortable I will feel when I start practicing.” Gannon said the benefit of simulation is the ability to control the patient condition to ensure that all students are exposed to a critical clinical experience that tests their care management competence in a controlled environment.
“It is impossible to deliver and guarantee certain conditions take place in the actual clinical environment where students all have different patients and different experiences,” Gannon said. “Further, changing the patient’s condition in a controlled way provides all students with an opportunity for care plan revision, particularly in redesigning nursing interventions and formulating new outcomes and their indicators.
That requires deeper thinking than simply constructing a plan based on a disease process. Students have to redesign care for their patient, not a disease, and that is a critical reflection of personalized nursing care — a foundational concept of our curriculum.”