The Central Virginia Center for Simulation and Virtual Learning, a Centra facility operated jointly with University of Lynchburg, was dedicated May 30 in the lower level of The Plaza Shopping Center.
“University of Lynchburg is pleased to be a key partner in the simulation center, dating back to our initial funding discussions with the Virginia Tobacco Indemnity Commission,” said LC President Kenneth Garren. “This facility will provide students from across the region with the technical skills necessary to meet today’s patient challenges and to be prepared for the changing medical landscape of tomorrow.”
The center began with a $200,000 grant awarded by the Virginia Tobacco Commission to University of Lynchburg and Centra in 2009. Dr. Garren gave credit to Dr. Linda Andrews, recently retired dean of the School of Health Sciences and Human Performances, for having the vision in 2004 to create a nursing simulation lab.
E.W. Tibbs Jr., president and CEO of Centra, said the facility would serve all of central and southwest Virginia “to drive down medical errors” using lifelike manikins that simulate real-world medical conditions.
The first phase of the 15,221-square-foot center is complete and consists of five acute care inpatient rooms, one critical care inpatient room, one labor and delivery birthing suite, two primary care exam rooms, one home health apartment, and an ambulance venue. This phase occupies about half of the facility.
Orion, the most technologically advanced audiovisual system, is featured in the simulation areas of the first phase. Orion video records learners during simulations to allow for feedback.
Six high-fidelity, computerized simulation manikins include two adults, one child, a baby, a birthing mother, and a newborn. All manikins simulate human actions such as breathing, heart and lung sounds, speaking, crying and other specialized functions.
“Simulation is the latest and most effective type of education in which students can intervene, make decisions, and take actions in a highly controlled environment,” said Patti McCue, Sc.D., R.N., MSN, NEA-BC, Centra senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer. “The process allows the creation of clinical situations that could not be created in a hospital setting. It also is an excellent way to teach and promote patient safety. Students can practice in a controlled environment before working with actual patients. In addition to students, current health professionals have the opportunity to use the center for advanced technical skill development and to improve communication and collaboration skills as part of a team.”
The second phase of the simulation center will create a virtual hospital environment with two acute care rooms, another labor and delivery birthing suite, two critical care rooms, an emergency department triage area and trauma bay, operating room, and a helicopter, as well as a nurse’s station and medication room. Completion of the second phase is anticipated within the next 18-24 months. Upon completion, the center will be the only one in the commonwealth that offers the full spectrum of simulation venues, as well as one of the largest.