To Be Used For
BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
Tusculum College has announced acceptance of a $263,996 BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) of Tennessee Health Foundation Grant, with which the college has installed a simulation laboratory for the recently-added Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
A news conference took place on Monday morning at the Niswonger Commons, on Tusculum College's campus, to make the announcement and officially open the laboratory.
The simulation laboratory features two hospital beds and two life-size "model humans" -- computerized dummies that simulate human responses.
These models, for example, have pupils that respond to light, eyelids that blink, chests that move up and down with each "breath," and a pulse at their wrists and feet.
Dr. Lois Ewen, dean of the School of Nursing, also explained that the simulators also have such responses as secretions, and reactions to drug administration.
"Using simulators will allow students immediate feedback from their peers and instructors," Ewen said in a released statement.
"Simulated clinical experiences provide the opportunity for students to administer independent nursing care and to observe the effects of their care."
In addition to the simulators, the release also notes that the grant provides digital recording equipment for follow-up review and training for 16 college and community partner staff in using the equipment.
Not only will nursing students benefit from this, but also other academic programs and community health care partners will benefit as well.
"Laughlin [Memorial Hospital] is excited that the simulation laboratory will allow members of our staff to be trained in its use and allow us to use the facility for staff training," said Chuck Whitfield, president and chief executive officer of the hospital, in a news release.
The release also noted that Daniel Walcott, president and chief executive officer of Takoma Regional Hopsital, had applauded this as "community-minded efforts to collaborate with area healthcare agencies in areas of mutual support."
On Monday, Dr. Paul Stanton, who serves on the Tusculum Board of Trustees and on the BCBS Board of Directors, introduced the key speaker for the announcement, Dr. Vicky Gregg, chief executive officer of BCBS of Tennessee.
In his introduction, Stanton referred to Gregg as quiet, humble and determined, stating that she was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam to the Board of Trustees for the University of Tennessee.
She has also been named one of the top 25 women in health care in the United States and "the number one in the Business Tennessee most-powerful 100 in Tennessee," he said.
Gregg explained that the BCBS Foundation that sponsored the grant provides funds to organizations seeking to improve health care and/or lower the cost of health care.
"On this particular project, you had two strong advocates in Scott Niswonger and Nancy Moody, both of whom are quite formidable," she said, laughing.
"I knew better than to look the other way."
BENEFITS OF SIMULATIONS
She shared her delight in sponsoring a project for a School of Nursing, encouraged the students to recognize the opportunities before them, and emphasized the importance of well-trained nurses.
"Simulation labs have been a lot of fun to see develop across the state," she said, noting that nursing practice was once conducted on fellow students or patients themselves.
"It's really wonderful today that I think our nursing students have the opportunity to actually perform many of these procedures on dummies ... and learn how to do it before they actually encounter that first patient."
'BETTER THAN ANTICIPATED'
Dr. Nancy B. Moody, president of Tusculum College, introduced the 24 students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program's inaugural class.
The BSN became a new option at Tusculum this fall.
Dr. Moody announced that the program was experiencing a stronger-than-expected start, with a waiting list that is three times what she said they can accommodate for next year's program.
"This is going to be another great day in the history of Tusculum College," said Ken Bowman, chairman of the Tusculum College Board of Trustees. "Tusculum College would not be here today if not for the relationships it has forged through the years."
In this situation, these relationships include not only what exists between Tusculum and BCBS, but also between the college and the community, he indicated.
"Today, we celebrate a partnership and a program that will allow us to not only serve our students, but to serve our community and our region as well."