Grant allows addition of 'SimMom' at ASUMH
By BILLY JEAN LOUIS
Feb. 04, 2018
MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (AP) — A $63,296 grant from the Blue and You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas is boosting Arkansas State University-Mountain Home's nursing, paramedic and emergency medical technician students' chances of getting a hands-on experience before graduation.
The grant application process — which took Arkansas State University-Mountain Home Dean of the School of Health Sciences Julia Gist two months to complete — was due in July 2017.
Around 11 a.m. Thursday at Gotaas Hall, the school's health and science building, Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield representatives officially presented a check to school officials. But the school had already received the grant since November.
"I'm always impressed by generosity," Gist told The Bulletin Thursday morning. She said it was "really exciting" to her. She has gotten small grants before, she said, but she has "never gotten" something that would influence so many students.
Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield Regional Network Manager Warren McDonald told The Bulletin Thursday morning the Blue and You Foundation awarded about $2.6 million this year to organizations across the state, ranging from $1,000 mini-grants to $150,000 grants.
In allocating the grant, the college has purchased a female mannequin known as SimMom — including the electronic part — from Laerdal Medical for approximately $43,000. Part of the SimMom, a simulator that simulates birth, purchase includes a package that will provide the school with scenarios.
Additionally, the school has spent $4,850 on faculty education to make sure the staff knows how to operate the simulator. Laerdal Medical will send instructors to the school, and faculty members will learn on the school's equipment.
"If you gonna work with the students, you need to be the expert," Gist said.
And the rest of the grant was spent on the scenarios and warranty.
This isn't the health science department's first mannequin. It already has a simulation lab, located on the second floor of Gotaas Hall. That lab boasts four rooms, consisting of several mannequins. SimMom will be an additional mannequin.
SimMom has already been ordered. It's in the shipping process, and students should expect to use it before the semester ends.
Students get a "good experience" at Baxter Regional Medical Center, but the school cannot plan when women are going into labor, Gist said, adding they have a limited time at the hospital.
"With this simulator, we'll be able to plan simulations that will be the things that happen infrequently at the hospital and are often high-risk, because we want our nurses to be ready for whatever happens when they graduate," Gist said.
The first time students go to the simulation lab, she said, they're told that it's a safe place — they're not graded on what they do. The lab has videos that capture students' performance. After the simulation, instructors and students review the videos to learn and improve future performance.
"We want them to learn there. And if they're going to make a mistake, it's going to happen in the simulation lab, and not with a real patient," Gist said, stressing that the school wants students to learn to anticipate what's going to happen with real patients.
Ashley Cain, of Norfork, is one of the students who's benefiting from the school's simulation lab. Cain said she appreciates the fact that the lab is a safe environment, where she can make mistakes.
"It's good practice because we get to work with the mannequin — and we have to, basically, pretend they're real people," she said. "Even though it might be a stressful situation where we don't exactly know what we're doing, but then we just kind of get through it. And our teacher will come in and explain to us what we did right mainly."
Cain, a licensed practical nursing (LPN) student, said she can practice skills that she wouldn't want to practice on a real person. A good number of the activities she has been assigned involve pediatric care, like taking care of a newborn and the mother.
"That's not something that LPNs really get a lot of, like in the clinical experience," she said. "So, we do get to see a different side of the LPNs' roles as we would progress."
Cain, who plans to graduate in July, agreed she's "definitely" getting the necessary skills she needs to succeed in the workforce.
"I feel like we're over-prepared because they want us to succeed . They want us to give quality care to patients," Cain said. "I think that's why the simulation lab is so valuable because we get to practice these things, and understand why it's so important for when we get out in the real world that we're actually going to be dealing with these things."
Information from: The Baxter Bulletin, http://www.baxterbulletin.com