As we review the dean’s third-year accomplishments this week, a major achievement for the college is from the success of the Mary Jane Rawlinson Geertsen Nursing Learning Center (NLC) during its first year of operation.
The new state-of-the-art facility has immensely expanded the opportunities available to students in the BYU College of Nursing, thanks in part to Dean Ravert’s commitment to simulation training in nursing education, as well as a generous $4 million donation from the Fritz B. Burns Foundation. It also took tremendous support from the center’s supervisor Colleen Tingey, assistant teaching professor Debra Wing, and the devoted staff and student employees that work there!
Throughout the past academic year, over 12,000 student encounters have occurred in the NLC (where a nursing student has spent at least an hour using a lab). Students participated in simulations and lessons and experienced more extensive learning than would have been possible before the facility was remodeled and expanded last summer.
The fall semester brought a steep learning curve. Not only did faculty members need to learn where resources and materials were stored in the rooms, in some cases they had to learn how to use them (i.e., iPad tablets to control video feeds, microphones, televisions; touch-screen monitors to program manikin scenarios, etc.).
By the start of the winter semester, most of the networking and technology glitches were resolved. Faculty found new and better ways to instruct and utilize the materials in the labs. At times, their desire to develop unique learning opportunities pushed the capabilities of the manikin software and its manufacture had to develop solutions to resolve these types of situations.
The new area is a total of nearly 11,000 square feet, expanded 4,000 feet from the original center built in 2001 (it is still in the basement of the Spencer W. Kimball Tower, we just acquired space to the northeast). There are now six full-simulation rooms with high-fidelity manikins, four debriefing rooms, five exam rooms, a nine-bed skill lab, a four-bed walk-in lab, and two procedure training areas. Each area is flexible and can be reconfigured in a variety of ways according to class needs.
The NLC now also features the ability to video record faculty presentations and student interactions with manikins or standardized patients. The recordings are reviewed either individually or as a class during debriefing sessions. During these extensive debriefing sessions, students come to fully understand the simulations in which they are participating.
The NLC is a central and invaluable part of BYU’s nursing program. During the six program semesters, each nursing student completes at least 50 simulations in the center. Students are immersed in the simulated environment and have more room to practice skills, and enjoy more hands-on opportunities than ever before.
Watch a video depicting the NLC’s use in student learning: https://youtu.be/Gv6l4lidYKQ