Niagara University formally unveiled its new Nursing Simulation Center during a blessing and dedication ceremony that was held in October.
The state-of-the-art, $1.5 million facility, located in Dunleavy Hall, will provide “hands-on” opportunities for students to manage patient encounters and skills in a risk-free, virtual reality environment, while supporting traditional classroom learning and clinical practice experiences.
The center will also offer opportunities for interprofessional experiential learning. Students will gain a greater understanding of patient assessment and care and become adept at responding to complex situations in a timely manner with competency and confidence.
By focusing on innovation in education, funded research and community partnerships, the Simulation Center is another way that Niagara is positioning its School of Nursing for future growth, noted the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara president.
Included among the center’s numerous technological upgrades is a “Sim ManEssential Bleeding,” the type of computerized manikin that is used for scenario-based simulations at the leading medical schools across the country. A computer software system allows professors to adjust the manikin’s heart rate and rhythm as its chest rises and falls. The manikin even blinks, talks and bleeds.
The center also features the same electronic medical dispensing system that is used in hospitals, called a Pyxis MedStation. Niagara students are now able to learn how to operate the system while using fake medications during their training.
A connected conference room within the Simulation Center allows students and faculty members to watch procedures in real time, adding another element of learning that wasn’t previously available. It will help students develop their critical thinking and practice making decisions through a simulated scenario a nurse could face on the job.
“Our vision for the Sim Center is that students will begin utilizing it by the second semester of their freshman year. Our model for operating it is still evolving, but we want all of our students to be exposed to the practical situations it presents as early as possible,” said Frances S. Crosby, ’67, Ed.D., director of the School of Nursing. “Eventually, students will have a Sim Lab requirement attached to their courses. This will not replace clinic time; rather, it will support what’s being learned in the classroom.”