The Virginia Tobacco Commission awarded $200,000 to Central Virginia Health Sciences Education Consortium, a new nonprofit launched by University of Lynchburg and Centra, to create a health simulation lab for students in nursing, paramedicine, respiratory therapy, and physical therapy, as well as local practitioners. Central Virginia Community College is also a partner in this endeavor.
Centra and University of Lynchburg will provide the governance structure, strategic leadership, and operational oversight for the Center for Simulation and Virtual Learning to be housed adjacent Centra’s Lynchburg Family Medicine Center at the Plaza. While state laws prohibit CVCC from joining such a corporation, the community college will have representation on the consortium’s board of directors.
“Through simulation and virtual learning, this lab will provide healthcare training opportunities for healthcare students and providers throughout tobacco-dependent counties in Central and Southside Virginia,” said LC President Kenneth Garren, who pleaded the case for the lab before the Tobacco Commission.
“We are very excited about this new center, and what it will mean in enhancing training for future nurses and other health professionals in our region as well as developing additional competencies in our existing clinical workforce at Centra,” said Patti S. McCue, Sc.D., RN, Centra chief nursing officer and senior vice president. “This will also be a center that can serve first responders throughout the region in their training efforts.”
With the shortage of healthcare personnel becoming increasingly severe, and with more healthcare programs desiring to admit students without the clinical facilities and placements for training, students are being denied access to programs that could admit additional students if alternative options were available for workforce training. EMT and respiratory students at CVCC will also use this center as part of their curriculum and training.
The new lab will allow an additional 85 students a year to get hands-on training. The center will allow for training opportunities for students enrolled in nursing, paramedicine, respiratory therapy, physical therapy, radiology and family medicine. The facility will be used for training students toward registered nurse and licensed practical nurse designations in the University of Lynchburg and Centra Lynchburg General Hospital Schools of Nursing as well as CVCC’s paramedic and respiratory therapy students. The lab, which will cost about $663,000, will have seven stations and accommodate 25 to 30 students at any one time. Computer-controlled, high-fidelity human patient simulators or mannequins will be the primary simulation tools. SimMan 3G, SimBaby, and SimNewB will join earlier versions of SimMan and VitaSim Anne, which have been in use for several years.
The new mannequins can be programmed to simulate common medical conditions as well as critical conditions. These can include a change in vital signs, turning blue from lack of oxygen, or a stress response that will occur through cardiac arrest or septic shock. The student has only minutes to respond to changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. Through videotaping capabilities, students receive information and feedback about their individual performances and their work as a team.
“These experiences will prepare students for real-life situations and help their transition into the world of independently functioning caregivers,” said Dr. Angela Taylor, director of nursing at University of Lynchburg.
For more information, contact Shannon Brennan at University of Lynchburg at 434.544.8609 or Susan Brandt at Centra at 434/200-4731