When the fall semester began this academic year, Penn College nursing students were excited to see the completion of the new nursing lab. Located on the first floor of the Breuder Advanced Technology & Health Sciences Center (space formerly used by the School of Integrated Studies and Workforce Development & Continuing Education), the newer facility contains two classrooms (seating 35-40 students each) with a patient/bed demonstration area, a simulation room, and a skills area complete with eight additional patient beds. This lab, and the existing lab located directly upstairs, will support the expansion of the bachelor degree program, and facilitate the use of state-of-the-art equipment across all of the nursing programs. Both labs will be used by approximately 270 bachelor, associate, and certificate students each semester. The expansion, coupled with newer equipment, gives the nursing students the opportunity to apply more complex procedures in a simulated environment. Faculty can replicate real-life medical situations without the risk of real patient harm. One such example is SimMan 3G, a completely wireless, self-contained, human patient simulator that can be controlled remotely to test students’ skills in anything from a bleeding laceration to identifying and treating a stroke. Because there is no “typical day” for a nurse, the goal is to create challenging and engaging scenarios depicting a wide array of medical situations that students can expect to encounter while supervised on clinical rotations and later as a licensed nurse. From a faculty observation room, scenarios can be viewed, graded, recorded, and saved onto a flash drive to facilitate faculty/student feedback. While only used by the nursing program today, future plans include incorporating other health science programs into scenarios to enhance interprofessional education, teamwork, and practice.
In addition, the School of Health Sciences is pleased to announce the establishment of an endowed scholarship fund to benefit students in the school. Most of the money raised for the School of Health Sciences Endowed Scholarship was through a series of 5K run/walks organized by employee and student volunteers within the school. Through the tremendous support of these volunteers, and many behind-the-scene supporters, a legacy has been created, bringing staff and faculty across the school together for an important cause. Since the first race in Spring 2008, approximately 500 runners and walkers have participated, often braving wet, windy, and sometimes cold weather. We look forward to awarding the first scholarship from the fund to a Health Sciences student in 2013.