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Loyola College of Nursing and Health Opens Loyola Ochsner Nursing  Simulation Lab

By Loyola University on Wed, 09/28/2022 - 10:38

State-of-the-art simulation lab on campus allows students to learn and practice crucial clinical skills before beginning clinical rotations 

(New Orleans – September 28, 2022) Thanks to generous donations from the William Randolph Hearst Foundations, the Selley Foundation, the Edward G. Schlieder Educational Foundation, and the Alden and Margaret Laborde Foundation, the Loyola University New Orleans College of Nursing and Health will proudly open a state-of-the-art Nursing Simulation Laboratory in partnership with Ochsner Health on Saturday.
The new $1.9 million Loyola Ochsner Nursing Simulation Lab – the “Sim Lab” – on Loyola’s campus is a high-tech outfitted center that allows students immersive, hands-on learning opportunities in simulated inpatient and outpatient settings, as they prepare for careers in hospitals, labor and delivery rooms, emergency rooms, and other clinical settings.
Simulation can replicate clinical practice in a safe environment and provide nursing students with opportunities to practice their clinical and decision-making skills through varied real-life situational experiences, without compromising a “real” patient’s well-being.
“Being able to practice basic nursing skills on high-tech mannequins in a simulated environment is an invaluable opportunity we are thrilled to offer our students, and we are so grateful to everyone who helped to make the Sim Lab possible,” said Dr. Cherie Burke, director of the School of Nursing.

“Whether students are practicing simpler tasks such as taking blood pressures or more advanced nursing practice skills like delivering a baby, these hands-on experiences and opportunities allow the instructor to stop in the moment and provide detailed guidance and feedback. They also allow the student the opportunity to ask questions and repeat skills over and over again before working in a real healthcare environment.”

The state-of-the-art experiential learning space will be used to educate students in Loyola and Ochsner’s joint Bachelor of Science in Nursing program for undergraduate students and Loyola’s new accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, initiating in January 2023. The ABSN program is designed for career changers who have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field other than nursing. Loyola graduate students of various specialties will also be using the Sim Lab.

The Sim Lab furthers Loyola’s partnership with Ochsner, which provides the university’s undergraduate students access to clinical training and placements, eliminating common barriers for nursing students. Both programs are also supported through the flagship Ochsner Scholars initiative, a tuition assistance program for aspiring nurses, allied health workers and physicians who pledge to serve as Ochsner employees following education at an accredited school. Ochsner Scholars is a key investment of the collaborative Healthy State by 2030 initiative, an ambitious plan with partners like Loyola to lift Louisiana off the bottom of national health rankings and help communities attain better health, well-being, education, and workforce development opportunities.

Such investments are critical, as healthcare workforce challenges have grown in recent years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor projects more than 1.1 million new nurses will be needed by 2030.

“The Ochsner and Loyola partnership educates students at the highest levels of healthcare training, putting ethics and passionate commitment to excellence at the forefront of everything we do,” said Dr. Leonardo Seoane, Chief Academic Officer of Ochsner Health. “In partnering with Loyola, we leverage the human capital of our region and create a clear pathway for Louisiana’s nursing workforce. We believe that the high-caliber resources offered in this new simulation lab are key to developing the next generation of nurses.”

Loyola’s new Sim Lab is equipped with high-fidelity mannequins capable of mimicking medical conditions that will improve or deteriorate based on the intervention provided by the nursing student. These lifelike mannequins are highly complex and responsive, designed to react like humans.
The several simulators Loyola purchased includes one representing a full-term pregnant adult abdomen that is worn by someone “acting” in the role of the patient. This simulator allows students to experience a variety of birth scenarios and practice their skills assessing a woman experiencing complications of pregnancy.

“Students will also be able to work in the Sim Lab using other wearable simulators worn either by other students or patient actors (called standardized patients) designed to give students an even more realistic patient experience, including simulating the feeling of contractions,” Burke said. Other wearable prostheses allow nursing students to learn how to place a urinary catheter and practice working with patients in vulnerable scenarios.

A variety of adult and child simulation mannequins also allow students to hone skills, such as airway management, CPR, heart and lung sound assessment, and participation in common clinicals scenarios like excessive blood loss, cardiac arrest, and stroke. Additional simulation equipment will be purchased to allow advanced practice nursing students to build expertise with nursing skills like endotracheal intubation, addressing cardiac issues, and management of seizures.

“In the new Sim Lab, undergraduate nursing students will have the chance to ask questions, adjust, and rehearse their responses repeatedly before beginning on-the-floor training in a real hospital or clinic setting,” said Dr. Michelle “Shelli” Collins, dean of the College of Nursing and Health. “They enter their clinical rotations ready to respond and ultimately will emerge from their four years of cumulative education as floor-ready nurses.” 

The campus community will celebrate on Saturday, October 1 with a private dedication ceremony that begins in Ignatius Chapel in Bobet Hall at 10:30 a.m. We will move to the Lab in Monroe Hall at 11 a.m. for a blessing of the new space and live demonstrations. Demonstrations will at approximately 12:30 pm, in time for the university’s White Coat ceremony for nursing students, which starts at 1 p.m. in Ignatius Chapel. 

What’s a White Coat ceremony? Find out all about it. We held our first one on campus last year.