By Richard Rezler
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was among the dignitaries that helped Washtenaw Community College celebrate its national Center of Excellence in Nursing Education designation and cut the ribbon on its new nursing simulation laboratories at a special ceremony held Thursday evening.
“The impact that the School of Nursing has on the community it serves is extraordinary,” Snyder said. “The outstanding reputation of WCC’s School of Nursing and its exceptional graduates is well known, with employers specifically seeking out WCC nursing graduates.”
The event included tours of the nursing program’s new experiential learning space, which includes a six-bed Nursing Skills Lab and a Nursing Simulation Lab that consists of a nurses’ station and two patient rooms with full-functioning hospital headwall systems.
It was also an opportunity to publicly celebrate the National League for Nursing’s (NLN) selection of WCC as one of 16 nursing programs nationwide to earn its coveted Center of Excellence in Nursing Education designation in 2018. WCC is the first Center of Excellence in Michigan and one of only eight two-year colleges to earn the honor since the NLN began the program in 2004.
WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca thanked Dean of Health Sciences Dr. Valerie Greaves and the entire nursing faculty for their efforts to build a program deserving of the distinction.
“Washtenaw Community College can, and should, celebrate this prestigious validation of the exceptional training we are providing. But we are most gratified that the students are the greatest beneficiaries of this honor,” Bellanca said. “As they graduate, prospective employers can be assured they were educated in one of the top-tier nursing programs in the country.”
WCC earned the Center of Excellence distinction before completing the 2,800-square-foot, $450,000 laboratory expansion project, which was designed to International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning standards.
The new lab space features an audio/visual system in the Nursing Simulation Lab that allows instructors to record students’ interactions with patients for later review and critique. There is also a new 24-person classroom and a debriefing room.
Two high-tech patient simulators are permanent residents of the new space: The Gaumard S2200 Victoria, or Victoria for short, is a labor and birthing patient simulator that simulates realistic birthing experiences, including normal delivery, breech, shoulder dystocia and C-sections; complete with programmable vital signs, head movement, crying and joint articulation.
Like her partner, the Laerdal SimMan 3G, Victoria can also be used as a non-pregnant simulator. Advanced robots like Victoria and SimMan are changing the face of healthcare education with their life-like symptoms and responses to treatment.
The simulators’ reactions are controlled by a team of WCC faculty and staff beyond a one-way mirror. Using a computer dashboard, they can make Victoria and SimMan’s physical responses to the students’ treatment mimic real-life scenarios, adjusting their heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory sounds and other vital signs accordingly.
Greaves says research shows the use of simulation labs is more or equally beneficial for nursing students in comparison with actual clinical time, when students are placed at medical facilities. In 2016, the Michigan Board of Nursing declared that up to 50-percent of nursing clinical time can be spent in a simulation lab.
CUTLINE: Cutting the ribbon on the WCC nursing labs were (from left) Trustee Christina Fleming, Dean of Health Services Dr. Valerie Greaves, Trustee Bill Milliken Jr., Governor RIck Snyder, WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca, Trustee Angela Davis and Trustee Diana McKnight-Morton.