Worcester State College has received a $35,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education for a simulated baby manikin to better prepare nursing students, nursing educators, and practicing nurses to treat infant patients.
The new simulated manikin is funded through the DHE’s Nursing and Allied Health Education Initiative, which seeks to expand the capacity and quality of public and private higher education nursing programs in order to better meet the workforce needs of the health care industry, a vital sector of the state’s economy.
“Worcester State College must give our nursing students the hands-on training they need to serve their patients well on day one of their careers,” said President Janelle C. Ashley. “With this grant, we are able to meet this demand and to take another step toward fully outfitting our Fairlawn Foundation Clinical Skills Nursing Lab with state-of-the-art equipment.”
The lab features IV pumps, wheelchairs, electronic thermometers, wall-mounted health assessment units, and blood pressure units. The grant-funded Laerdal SimBaby Patient Simulator will join a child manikin, female manikin, and male manikin.
“Simulation is increasingly a central part of advanced nursing education, and it is our goal to place human patient simulators within reach of every nursing student in the Commonwealth,” said DHE Nursing Initiative Director David McCauley. He noted that patient simulators placed at hospitals by the Nursing Initiative are also used for medical staff training and, in several instances, by community medical responders.
The DHE awarded eight human patient simulators, valued at $385,000, to various partnerships of higher education institutions and healthcare facilities or hospitals. Both public and private institutions of higher education were eligible to apply for the funds.
The recipients were chosen through a competitive review process by a committee, which included members representing the higher education and nursing communities. Award-winning proposals demonstrated a commitment to partnerships between education and practice settings, or multi-campus partnerships, as well as an in-kind commitment to fund ongoing maintenance of awarded equipment.
WSC proposed a unique grant by partnering with Pernet Family Health Service, Inc., a key participant in The Worcester Infant Mortality Task Force, to link its educational resources to the critical needs of clients in the Worcester community. Nursing Clinical Educator Joann Reidy, with a specialty in maternity nursing, will teach Pernet’s community health nurses and paraprofessionals who specialize in maternal child health how to use the baby manikin. This will be accomplished through teaching opportunities provided to clients of Pernet including WSC nursing majors.
“The awarding of the SimBaby is a win-win opportunity for WSC nursing majors, Pernet Health care providers, and the Worcester community as a way to improve maternal-child health education. This partnership will improve the way a community in dire need of health education learns through to an innovative educational strategy,” said Andrea Wallen, Ed.D. Chair of the Nursing Department.
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