Leaders cut ribbon on $3.8 million nursing simulation center

SAN ANTONIO (June 13, 2012) — Leaders of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio and The University of Texas System cut the ribbon June 13 on the $3.8 million School of Nursing Simulation Center & Clinical Learning Lab. “This instructional mini-hospital and home health setting will inculcate into students the ability to appraise and respond to unique clinical situations and reflect on whether they did the right thing at the right time,” School of Nursing Dean Eileen T. Breslin, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, said.

“Dean Breslin led a creative community effort to fund the Simulation Center & Clinical Learning Lab with an ultimate end in mind — the health and safety of patients served by School of Nursing alumni,” said William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, president of the Health Science Center. “Even more exciting are the inter-professional opportunities that now are possible.” The School of Nursing educates more than 800 students a year who are pursuing bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in diverse specialties of the profession.

The 7,281-square-foot center is supported by a $1 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration; an $850,000 gift from Methodist Healthcare Ministries; $750,000 in construction support from the University Health System; $500,000 in equipment support from Kinetic Concepts Inc.; $300,000 from the family of Ruthann Baldwin; a $290,000 grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration; $100,000 from Donna Block; and $25,000 from the School of Nursing Advisory Council.

The Simulation Center includes the following:

  • Trauma center – modeled after University Health System’s facility; includes two trauma exam rooms and one trauma emergency care room
  • Medical/surgical unit – constructed as a replica of new construction at University Hospital
  • Intensive care unit – constructed as a replica of new construction at University Hospital
  • Home health center – designed as an efficiency apartment to demonstrate to students the importance of care provided in homes
  • Multi-bed educational center – a four-bed medical/surgical unit where students will experience the dynamic environment of practicing on the floor of the hospital; allows medical teams to manage multiple patients at once; each room is equipped with specialty hospital beds and high-fidelity mannequins
  • Maternal/child center – two mother-baby birthing suites, where students will experience the care of mother and baby from labor and delivery to post-partum care
  • Pediatric care suite – includes three infant cribs, one child’s bed and four high-fidelity mannequins
  • Ambulatory care suite – four treatment sites where students will experience the clinical environment of an ambulatory center
  • Simulation conference room – a debriefing site for faculty to work with students to unravel the meanings and lessons inherent in each experience within the Simulation Center

“I was working with University Health System and they were going to build mock rooms for the new construction at University Hospital,” Dean Breslin said. “I said, ‘Why not build it here and let your nurses walk over and give feedback?’ That’s what we did. We are grateful for this partnership and for all of our partners, including Methodist Healthcare Ministries and our other wonderful donors and School of Nursing supporters.”

The new center mimics the hospital setting and home health. This will make the passion of nursing become very clear for students and spur them to think about creating new interventions to save people’s lives, Dean Breslin said.

Fourth-semester School of Nursing students such as Leslie Mueller were already gaining instruction in the facility even before the ribbon cutting. Mueller, who has at least 16 health care providers in her family — including three nurses — said the Simulation Center serves as a safety mechanism for students to gain hands-on experience before they are responsible for real patients. She is interested in nursing in the surgical intensive care unit.

Jessica Gallegos, a fellow fourth-semester student, said: “It’s awesome seeing what you read in books coming to life here in the center. It comes full circle.”

The center’s array of simulators range in age from a neonate to an older adult with the look, sound and feel of the actual patient. In the maternal/child care center, one simulator gives birth and is used to learn how to care for the mother before, during and after birth. Other mannequins simulate the newborn baby. Students therefore have opportunity to care for the family before, during and after childbirth. Scenarios presented to the learner can represent either an uncomplicated birth or a difficult birth with multiple challenges.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled $231 million in fiscal year 2011. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 28,000 graduates. The $736 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.

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