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Gainesville Campus simulation center prepares new class of nursing students

The 3,600 square foot center contains a lab that mirrors a hospital environment with hospital-grade equipment and life-like mannequins.

The University of North Georgia's (UNG) cutting-edge nursing simulation center on the Gainesville Campus is pulling back its curtains for an open house on Thursday, Mar. 10 from 5-7 p.m.

The 3,600 square foot center contains a simulation center and classroom space. The lab mirrors a hospital environment with hospital-grade equipment and life-like mannequins that breathe, bleed and give birth so that students in nursing and other health professions are prepared in a clinical hands-on way.

"This facility allows our first nursing cohort on the Gainesville Campus, which began in January, to hit the ground running with top-notch technology to help them learn and practice their skills," said Dr. Teresa Conner-Kerr, dean of UNG's College of Health Sciences & Professions.

"It also provides an opportunity for all of our health discipline students to participate in inter-professional educational experiences that mirror everyday situations in health care.  This center will be one of the centerpieces of inter-professional education for the college—a critical component expected by accreditors of health care professional programs and the employers of our graduates."

UNG's four-year nursing program expanded to the university's Gainesville Campus to address a critical need for healthcare workers in the region. A new cohort of nursing students will begin in spring every year on the Gainesville Campus and the first class will graduate in fall 2017.

The nursing classroom was designed for technology-enabled active learning (TEAL) — a teaching methodology that merges lectures, active learning, case studies and problem-based learning activities to create a rich, collaborative learning experience.

"Students bring a wealth of experiential learning to the classroom, and with the use of TEAL, the student and the teacher stimulate decision-making and problem-solving through their own individual perspectives augmented by evidence-based data," said Dr. Kim Hudson-Gallogly, head of UNG's Department of Nursing.

The new simulation center answers the need for alternative clinical practice sites as well as providing an environment for inter-professional education, research and collaboration.

According to Katie Parrish, director of simulation for the College of Health Sciences & Professions, the new space contains:

  • High-fidelity mannequins that can simulate a wide variety of medical issues
  • Space for standardized patients (people playing the role of a patient)
  • Task trainers, which are used to teach specific skills and body systems
  • Four acute care patient rooms, including a medical-surgical room, pediatric room, intensive care unit room, and a labor and delivery suite
  • An outpatient clinic room
  • An apartment with a living space, kitchen, and bathroom that will be used for mobility training, safety assessments and more for students in UNG's nursing and physical therapy programs

The lab also contain a nurses' station with computers to simulate electronic health records, a medication preparation area, and multiple storage areas for supplies and equipment. Video recording equipment will provide live viewing in a classroom for faculty and student observers as well as for use in debriefing.   

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