Tusculum College announced the installation of a simulation laboratory for the recently added Bachelor of Science in Nursing program as the result of a recent awarding of a $263,996 grant from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation.
The simulation lab will be used to produce highly-qualified BSN graduates skilled at clinical decision-making, who will provide safe, competent and improved health care for future generations of Tennesseans, said Dr. Nancy B. Moody, president of Tusculum College.
The college recently added the nursing degree program to meet documented needs in the community and region and sought the partnership of BlueCross BlueShield in providing the simulation lab to provide the best available learning environment for enrolled students.
“Using simulators will allow students immediate feedback from their peers and instructors,” said Dr. Lois Ewen, dean of the School of Nursing. “Simulated clinical experiences provide the opportunity for students to administer independent nursing care and to observe the effects of their care.
In addition to nursing, the lab will be utilized by other academic programs, as well as by community healthcare partners.
According to Ewen, the grant funding was utilized to purchase and install the two simulators, along with video recording equipment. In addition, the funds are being used to train sixteen college and community partner staff in using the simulation equipment.
“The programs at Tusculum College and the utilization planned for the simulation laboratory aligns with the Tennessee Health Foundation’s mission of enhancing the quality of life and improving health through educating health professionals who are effective in communicating and providing competent and safe care for Tennessee residents,” said Dr. Vicky Gregg, chief executive officer of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. “We are pleased to be a partner in this effort and look forward to seeing the community, region and state benefit from the results.”
The simulation lab has the support of both Laughlin Memorial Hospital and Takoma Regional Hospital who are working as community partners with Tusculum College to create a nursing program that provides top quality, highly-trained nursing professionals for the region.
The equipment primarily includes two simulators, computerized model humans, which can be used by nursing, emergency medical technician and other health care students and staff to simulate real-life health response situations. The simulators can be individualized by specific programs as well support existing training modules for practice and lessons.
Additionally, digital recording equipment was also purchased to be used for follow-up class work and review, as well as to create a “scenario library” for students to utilize during their coursework in the nursing program. A computer server dedicated to the simulations and the library was also purchased with the grant funding.
According to Ewen, the simulators are programmed with a wide variety of human responses including pupil dilation, secretions and responses to drug administration. Because of this, students get practice with diagnostic techniques as well as medical response.
“This partnership with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation provides opportunities for the college, our students and the community. This is a very exciting time for us, and we are very much looking forward to seeing the facility and equipment being utilized,” said Ewen.