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USCA, Aiken Regional celebrate partnership

December 7, 2018

The University of South Carolina Aiken School of Nursing and Aiken Regional Medical Centers staff recently celebrated a unique aspect of their partnership, made possible by Johnson & Johnson.

Earlier this year, the Fortune 500 Company gave the university a $25,000 grant through the Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association. The funding is part of the Promise of Nursing for South Carolina Nursing School Grant Program. It aims to enhance the instruction in the School of Nursing’s simulation labs and help strengthen the university’s relationship with Aiken Regional Medical Centers. The funds from this grant provide the necessary training, certification and equipment.

Representatives from both the university and the hospital recently ran through the first simulation with ARMC nurse residents. During the training, Dr. Kay Lawrence, USC Aiken’s simulation director; collaborated with Jeff Humphries and Denise Finkbeiner, both educators for the hospital; and Ginger Hawkins, ARMC’s chief nursing officer.

“The grant allowed us to buy equipment and supplies and covered the expenses for two full-time, one part-time USC Aiken faculty member and a nurse educator from ARMC to attend the National League for Nursing’s Institute for Simulation Education,” Lawrence said.

Additionally, the grant allows them all the opportunity to take the Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator exam.

To celebrate the longstanding partnership and the success of the grant, the USC Aiken School of Nursing invited representatives from the hospital to campus. ARMC staffers had the opportunity to see some of the nursing students “administer care” during advanced life-support scenarios in the simulation labs. In addition to Johnson & Johnson, generous donors, including Aiken Regional, have helped outfit these realistic training environments, which include programmable mannequins as patients with myriad medical conditions in various ages and stages of life.

“Simulation has been found to be an effective tool for clinical judgment and fostering inter-professional training,” Dr. Thayer McGahee, dean of the school of nursing, said.

“By increasing the effectiveness of the nurse residency program and enhancing team training, it is believed that this simulation program would be effective in increasing retention of the nursing staff at this hospital as well as improving team performance.”

She believes that together, this collaborative project funded by Johnson & Johnson would serve to increase the number of BSN graduates in South Carolina; decrease the turnover of new RN hires; and increase the retention of nurses in South Carolina.

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