Essex County College Nursing students can now take advantage of the latest technology in patient care right on the school’s Newark campus. The Center for Health Sciences Nursing Simulation Laboratory, featuring nearly lifelike mannequins as patients, was officially opened April 16 with a formally ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“This amazing simulation lab will prepare our students even more than ever to function more effectively as Registered Nurses,” said Essex President Dr. Gale E. Gibson. “While our students, trained by our outstanding faculty, have always excelled, this new lab will further enhance their skills. As we continue to improve the College and its facilities and offerings to students we know that the new age of health innovation requires providing the latest technology for students to be effective health service providers.”
“The new lab will provide outstanding training for our students before they begin their clinical assignments,” said Dr. Evadne Harrison-Madu, Chairperson of the Division of Nursing & Allied Health. An important component of the students’ training is the clinical work at hospitals, and she said the new lab will provide excellent preparation. The lab will also allow for mistakes, or as Dr. Madu put it, “They may kill the mannequin, but they won’t kill the patient.”
Funding for the project totaled $696,217 and includes $640,967 from the state Higher Education Equipment Leasing Fund and the rest from the state Facilities Trust Fund.
The College renovated its existing Nursing Simulation Lab into the spacious high-tech training area. Four new mannequins – three adults and one baby – can simulate a variety of chronic illnesses. The mannequins can perform such functions as breathe, sweat, and blink, simulating what students in the College’s Associate degree Nursing Program will encounter in a hospital or similar setting.
Dr. S. Aisha Steplight Johnson, Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs/Chief Academic Officer, noted the popularity of the College’s Nursing Department which sees more than 800 applicants a year. “They see Essex as a beacon of light” and this new simulation lab is another way the College is providing residents with the tools necessary to succeed in life.
The training area includes a Debriefing Room where the instructor can go over the student’s work after leaving the mannequins. A separate Observation Room for up to 30 is also part of the lab.
Tracy Mulcahey, from Laerdal Medical, the company that provided the equipment, gave an overview of the new lab’s capabilities. “The lab has been designed to provide the opportunity for things to literally go wrong, allowing for the students to learn how to handle emergencies,” she said. Students the provided a demonstrations on how the mannequins react to a variety of medical emergencies.
The new lab will also impact and enhance the many students in the Allied Health Division: Radiography program, Physical Therapist Assistant Program and the Health Information Technology Programs. In the Health Technology Program, for example, students will use the lab for data entry training and storing electronic record keeping.
Dr. Gibson said the project fits into a number of the College’s Strategic Plan goals. These include: Student Success & Completion – Job #1; State of the Art Technology & Support Services, and Modernized Facilities.