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Innovation at the College of Nursing and Health Professions

This essay is the ninth in the series Drexel students write about Drexel innovations

Innovation at the College of Nursing and Health Professions
By Megan Flynn

Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) is the first undergraduate nursing program in the country to use simulation with patient actors. This provides an experience for students and builds their clinical confidence in early clinical courses. Not only does this give health profession students the experience of effective communication, assessment and intervention techniques with real people, but actual patients are being taxed - as they are in other schools who use real patients. After the simulation, a faculty member views the entire "patient encounter" and provide objective feedback. Dr. Mary Ellen Glasgow was the person initially responsible for incorporating the use of simulated patients into the undergraduate programs.

The reception area has ten simulation rooms, one consultation, 9 exam rooms, and multidisciplinary focus. The simulation lab is a suite with a class and debriefing room. There is a place for students to check-in, an observation room, control room, and actor lounge. Each simulation suite contains a wall mounted computer station and a digital camera that films the entire simulation with audio and digitized video. The computer contains a checklist using EMS’ performance evaluation software.All the labs represent realistic practice settings with superior technology to help the students to acquire a better understanding of various health care competencies. Another bit of technology found in this lab is an overhead speaker in order for simulation announcements. The digital recording system is state-of-the-art. These are most important because they allow for faculty to offer students feedback and follow-up discussions. In addition to the feedback, students may be asked to order lab test results, view the results, and then read and interpret the results. The results may be from EKGs, MRIs, or X-Rays. Everything is viewed on the computer using the performance evaluation application.

Rebecca Walker, a freshman at the College of Nursing and Health Professions, is most thrilled for when she is able to get into the simulation labs. “I can’t wait to get experience with actual patient actors. I think it’ll be an important experience in my education here at Drexel,” said Beckie. She added, "The nursing department opportunities at Drexel are one of the best and I think I will be more likely to get a good job after I graduate because of the experience I have under my belt." Beckie is hoping to be a pediatric nurse in Philadelphia. She even mentioned, "The only reason I’m staying at Drexel and spending the extra money is because of how prestigious the nursing program is." Upperclassman who have already participated in the patient simulation labs agree that it is a great program and are relieved to know they will already have had experience with patients when they graduate.

Following Drexel’s lead, many other colleges and universities in the country have developed a patient simulation for their students. The Standardized Patient Lab is a 22,000 square foot of student clinical skills & simulation labs in space available to Drexel. This new state-of-the-art Human Patient Simulation Lab uses hybrid cases or patient simulators. The labs support interdisciplinary teamwork, crisis resource management skills, and multiple patient management. The mission of the Center for Interdisciplinary Clinical Simulation and Practice is "to provide an environment to promote the clinical practice in a professional setting and foster study." The Center extends the learning experience in Nursing, Physician Assistant, and Rehab Science Programs and serves as a shining example of innovation in the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

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