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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

On-campus ‘hospital’ trains nursing students in real-world environment

“I need a nurse in here, STAT!”

In emergency rooms and critical care units across the country, a well-trained registered nurse instantly acts upon this phrase, knowing that seconds count in a life-and-death situation.

UALR SimCare, Nursing program

Today, long before their clinical rotations, nursing students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock are learning in SimCare, a new 22-bed, state-of-the art simulation hospital that recreates clinical experiences covering the human lifespan.

Students deliver patient care in a realistic environment, decreasing the chance a critical error will be repeated on a real-world patient.

To celebrate and showcase the facility, the UALR Department of Nursing will host an Open House from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27. RSVP at Nursing Celebration.

The event, open to the public and anyone interested in nursing, is part of a week-long celebration starting with Discover UALR Day, on Friday, Oct. 25, and ending with an official dedication of the new Nursing Building at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30.

SimCare is located in a 9,500-square-foot facility in the former UALR Administration Building, now the Nursing Building, which underwent extensive remodeling at a total cost of about $7 million.

“The mission of SimCare is to provide structured, simulation-based learning experiences that ensure that students meet specified learning outcomes across the curriculum,” said Dr. Ann Bain, interim dean of the UALR College of Science.

“SimCare is a concierge model simulation center, with facility staff providing facilitation and debriefing,” Bain continued. “It is a model that allows for intense faculty training on debriefing methods that facilitates best possible outcomes.”

With 10 high-fidelity beds, SimCare offers students the ability to learn from structured reflection as it relates to their real-life interactions with SimCare’s family of patient simulators.

These interactions are captured with both fixed and remote-controlled cameras and are equipped with audio capture abilities, as well.

SimCare also offers the ability to broadcast live from the patient’s bedside to any of the three classroom spaces on the second floor, bringing patient care from the bedside to the classroom for dynamic, multimedia content delivery.

The Department of Nursing is the largest department on campus with more than 500 active students in various levels of degree completion. It maintains 23 full-time faculty and five dedicated staff members.

Although simulated patient care is not new to UALR, SimCare’s environmental accuracy has seen a marked increase since moving to its new home on the first floor of the Nursing Building, according to Bain.

“We are excited about the expanded learning experiences we offer in our SimCare Interdisciplinary Health area and encourage anyone considering a career in nursing or continuing their education to contact us,” said Bain.

For more information about the open house celebrations or the Department of Nursing, contact Jon Vickers at 501.569.8070 or jmvickers@ualr.edu.

More facts about the new SimCare facility:

• Introduction of at least 17 “patients” to nursing students this fall, which will generate over 25 loads of laundry over the semester

• Meets student learning outcomes this fall by providing over 6,300 student contact hours

• Offers students the ability to perfect “soft skills” through interactions with highly trained standardized patients. Two dual use spaces allow for audio visual recording of these interactions in an informal setting similar to an interview space.

• Houses four high-fidelity manikins, over six mid-fidelity manikins, and a host of low-fidelity manikins and task trainers.

• Has built-in hospital grade fixtures for electrical systems, compressed gas and suction, in stark contrast to the converted lab space SimCare previously occupied. The Department of Nursing contributed over $35,000 toward the compressed gas system and fixtures alone.

• Contains the newly installed Pyxis Medstation 4000, the exact model found in hospitals all over the world, at a cost of $20,000. Contains all medications needed for the hospital to provide care to the SimCare manikins on a daily basis.

Details about the newly renovated Nursing Building:

• One of four original buildings constructed in 1949

• Housed the first library at what was then Little Rock Junior College.

• Overall footprint is 10,950-square feet and three stories tall

• Provides over 3,800 square feet of space in addition to a 1,762 square foot computer learning resource center with a 100-station computer lab and student lounge area

• Two 98-seat auditorium style and one 60-seat classroom with modern teaching technology

• In process of being certified LEED Gold, a remarkable feat considering it represents a remodel of a 65-year-old structure

Department of Nursing future plans:

• Anticipated funding of remaining two debriefing rooms with video playback and speaker functions at a cost of $17,000 and replacement of at least one birthing manikin and one high-fidelity patient simulator being retired by the manufacturer

• Anticipated funding for remaining beds to join the existing high fidelity camera and recording system. There are 12 beds remaining to be added to the system, an average cost of $24,000 each

• Replace three other high fidelity simulators

• Move toward a more interdisciplinary model