Meeting the Call for Compassionate Caregivers
The Texas Nurses Association reports that by the end of this decade, more than one third of the nursing jobs in the U.S. will remain unfilled because there are not enough trained professionals to meet the demand.
Recognizing this need, UMHB has proactively increased the number of students admitted to the undergraduate nursing program. The response has been significant, with enrollments more than doubling in the last decade.
The College of Nursing has now outgrown the classrooms and laboratories available to it. And to meet the requisites of an increasingly high-tech profession, UMHB is taking a giant step forward in providing laboratories where students can practice using the technologies currently employed in hospitals and clinics.
The Campus Master Plan calls for the construction of a new nursing education center which can offer expanded space plus learning laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment. Simulation centers will allow nurses-in-training to practice their clinical skills and get immediate feedback on their efforts without risking injury to real patients.
“Employers tell us they prefer our nursing graduates because they are always highly trained and compassionate caregivers,” says Dr. Sharon Souter, dean of nursing. “Our goal is to be able to accept every qualified student who wants to study nursing. We have the momentum we need to grow, and with a new nursing education center, we will be able to give our graduates the preparation they need for continued success in the profession.”
Thanks to a simulation, she was ready for the real-life test.
For their labor and delivery lab assignment, Brittany Justice and her classmates responded to a simulation mannequin programmed to exhibit the symptoms of a new mother experiencing post-partum hemorrhaging. Brittany was pleased to earn an A on the assignment—but the real payoff for her studies came one week later, when the junior nursing student was completing her clinical rotation in labor and delivery at a local hospital.
Toward the end of her shift that day, Brittany decided to stop in and say goodbye to her patient, a woman who had just given birth to her fifth child. Though the patient seemed to be sleeping peacefully, Brittany recognized the signs of a post-partum hemorrhage. Finding that the woman had no pulse, she immediately called for help and, with the help of an RN, raced the mother to an operating room for emergency surgery that saved her life.
“The simulation exercise prepared me to move quickly when I saw the woman’s ashen color and blue lips,” Brittany said. “You can read about symptoms in a textbook, but it’s different when you see them; working with the simulation mannequin helped me recognize the symptoms and know exactly what to do when it happened to my patient.”
View Live Web Cam!Features of the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Education Center
- 200-seat lecture hall with advanced audio/visual technology
- Two large clinical skills labs equipped with simulation mannequins programmed to manifest a variety of symptoms and to respond to care
- Physical diagnosis lab equipped with simulation mannequins
- Hospital simulation suite with four standard hospital rooms, a nurses’ station, an ER trauma room, a labor and delivery room, an ICU room, and a home health simulation room. All rooms will be equipped with computerized patient simulators
- Six video-equipped exam rooms where students can practice diagnosing volunteer “patients,” plus locker rooms, rest rooms, and a lounge for the volunteers
- Control room to coordinate video cameras in all simulation labs and suites
- Three debriefing rooms where professors and students can review video recordings and critique their performance
- 120-seat classroom which can be configured for lectures or for group work
- Eight high-tech learning labs with modular furniture that will seat 64 students each
- Offices for 25 faculty members, plus an office suite for the dean and the college secretary
- Learning resource center with research materials and textbooks
- Student lounge
- Wireless internet access so all areas can be used for administering computerized tests, when needed
- First-floor prayer chapel
The nursing education program at UMHB is built upon three important ideas:
Students often cite the small classes and the emphasis on the individual needs of each student as the reasons they enroll at UMHB. “We believe it is important for our faculty members to interact with their students both in and outside of the classroom, to give each of their students the individual attention that he or she deserves,” says Dean Sharon Souter. “To meet the needs of the individual student, we also make a point of incorporating a variety of teaching techniques, so that students who learn in different ways will all find ways to master the subject matter.”
Great care starts with the right education. As a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Texas Board of Nursing, UMHB's Scott and White College of Nursing models its curriculum on the high professional standards set by those organizations. Nursing students complete two years of core courses in math, English, history, and science, then embark on specialized courses where the latest techniques of healthcare are learned. Graduates emerge extraordinarily well prepared for their profession: the average first-time pass rate of UMHB nursing students on the NCLEX licensing exam is 95 percent, well above the state and national average.
“We are clearly different from other nursing programs in that we talk with our students about spiritual issues as well as about how to care for people’s physical needs,” says Dean Souter. “We pray before tests; we sit down and pray with students who are facing personal difficulties. I believe the Christian component of our program makes them better nurses,” Souter adds, “because they come to understand the importance of compassion and service, and they are not afraid to address the spiritual needs of their patients.”
How the Nursing Education Center Reflects the Priorities of the Program
The design of the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Education Center will be based upon best practices in nursing education and will reflect the distinctive philosophy of the UMHB nursing program:
Classrooms throughout the building will be equipped with modular furniture to allow rooms to be configured for multiple learning modalities, from lectures to group work to individual wireless computing stations. Small study areas and conference rooms will be strategically placed throughout the building to foster group study sessions and tutoring. A student lounge will give students a place to relax between classes, and a learning resource center will offer research materials and textbooks in a comfortable setting, with soft seating areas and outlets for charging laptops.
Technology will play a pivotal role in the new nursing education center. The center will include large clinical simulation laboratories fitted with high fidelity Sim Man “patients” programmed to manifest a variety of symptoms and to respond to the students’ care, both through vital signs and vocal responses. The second floor of the building will house a hospital simulation area with a nurses’ station, four standard hospital rooms, an ER/trauma room, a labor and delivery room, a room for critical care, and a home health simulation room; each of the rooms will include a computerized patient simulator. All simulation labs will be equipped with video cameras to record students as they offer care to their “patients,” plus debriefing rooms where professors can meet with their classes to critique the students’ performance.
A unique feature of the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Education Center will be the inclusion of a small chapel on the first floor of the building. The chapel will offer students and faculty a quiet retreat for moments of prayer and meditation. “Nursing is a notoriously high stress profession,” says Dr. Souter, “and our nursing students often face very difficult situations. Whether they are struggling with the loss of a patient or with the pressures of a hectic schedule, we encourage them to turn to God for comfort and guidance. We are extremely pleased that a chapel has been included in the design of the building, because we want our students to be attuned to their spiritual health as well as their mental and physical wellbeing.”