Clinical Simulation Building Reimagined

January 29, 2021
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Striving to remain competitive in an ever-changing academic environment, the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) reimagined its Clinical Simulation Building (CSB) in late fall 2020 to grow in scope and stature. The CSB admitted several new patients, also known as manikins or high-fidelity simulators, to its expanded patient care area floors. (View video below.)

Gaining some historic perspective, the opening of the new LHSON Academic Building on Washington Avenue in June of 2018 left behind the Simulation Lab to occupy the former four-story nursing school building on Worth Street. Rebranding the facility as the, Clinical Simulation Building, also included expanding from the original three simulation rooms with 2,500 square feet to an outstanding four floors with over 25,000 square feet!

“Simulation is an important teaching strategy in our programs; its utilization is growing and our lab space has tripled in size over the past 18 months. This rapid expansion in physical space is challenging our ability to equip the labs as needed,” said Jeanne Carey, Director of Clinical Simulation, LHSON. “Creating realistic clinical experiences in a safe space is an important feature of nursing skills labs. Students need to practice skills dozens of times prior to performing that skill on a patient. This deliberate practice should be performed in a manner that closely mimics the clinical setting to promote the transfer of knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSAs).”

LHSON took an existing building and retrofitted it to create a unique teaching environment. The strategic expansion incorporated larger spaces for skills labs and high-fidelity simulation rooms, allowing for social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first floor is now home to the LHSON Simulation administration suite and a Pediatric Sim Suite. The second floor was redesigned to expand Health Assessment and Professional Nursing Practice (PNP) lab spaces, a Periop Sim Lab, a Mental Health simulated setting, and a Hybrid Learning space. The third floor was transformed to an Outpatient Sim Suite, including 15 individual exam rooms and an inpatient lab setting incorporating a Review of Systems. There is also space allocated to develop an Extended Reality (XR) Sim Suite. A dedicated OB Sim Suite, including areas for labor & delivery, postpartum, and newborn nursery, was created on the fourth floor, along with a Community/Home Health apartment and a large multi-purpose sim space. Two auditorium-style classrooms are also available on the fourth floor.

Adding to the excitement, grant funds were received in the summer of 2020 from a Dallas area Foundation for the project titled, Enhancing Realism to Promote Knowledge Transfer from Nursing Skills Lab to the Bedside. Creating lab spaces that closely resemble clinical areas helps students suspend their disbelief and more fully engage in lab activities; this promotes the transfer of knowledge and skills to the practice setting. Historically, manikins used for skills training are not very realistic. Echo Healthcare created Lifecast manikins to fill this market gap. These manikins are molded from scans of real people and feature lifelike details that redefine high-fidelity. LHSON purchased eight Lifecast manikins, each representing a unique patient profile. The new equipment was installed in Fall 2020 and serves 520 undergraduate and 568 graduate students annually.

In addition, Echo Healthcare is pleased to partner with Baylor University and looks forward to seeing the changing landscape of nursing education in a dynamic fashion. According to Kevin King, CEO of Echo Healthcare, “As a lifelong learner and clinical educator, I’m thrilled to see the most lifelike technology implemented within the nursing program and know that by creating the suspension of disbelief utilizing this technology, the students will be better prepared for the real clinical environment where I spent 20 years of my career.” BU LHSON went one step further than any other customer in North America and worked collaboratively with Echo Healthcare to customize their simulator manikins to reflect real patients and conditions. According to Mr. King, “This first of its kind request is groundbreaking and will allow an emotional connection between students and technology. I can hardly wait to hear the results!”

“We are grateful for the generosity and support of a Dallas area Foundation for future Baylor nurses,” said Janis Kovar, Senior Director of Development, Baylor University. “Maximizing student learning and promoting the transfer of knowledge and skills into the clinical setting is vital. The sustaining support from donors will help ensure that nursing students continue to exemplify our school motto, Learn.Lead.Serve.”

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