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Nursing Lab Gets Major Upgrade

Posted on March 30th, 2005

Nursing students at Eastern Mennonite University now have access to technology-intensive educational experiences that were previously only available in actual hospital and other health care settings.

Thanks to gifts from two sources, EMU’s nursing department demonstration laboratory has undergone a major upgrade with state-of-the-art equipment and computer software that will help students improve their patient care skills.

Recently, EMU’s nursing program was one of five universities in Virginia to receive a $135,000 grant from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Of the total, $90,000 is being used for technical equipment and additional nursing faculty training.

The Anthem funds have provided two computerized Laerdal manikins and other equipment that will provide "real life patient care scenarios" for students. Several computer workstations with interactive CD programs will help students gain skills with clinical situations they will face in actual health care settings.

nursing students working with new equipmentHolly Smith, a third-year nursing student, applies oxygen via face mask to SimMan while EMU nursing professor Violet M. Horst observes the procedure in the new critical care area of the nursing laboratory.
Photo by Emily Huffman

Renovations to the nursing laboratory and other health care instruction upgrades – including video monitors and a "Virtual Intravenous" simulator for inserting catheters into patients – were made possible in part by the Lisa Haverstick Fund and Endowment created by Lisa’s family. Ms. Haverstick, a 1991 nursing graduate from Lancaster, Pa., died in May of 2003.

"Access to these new teaching tools calls for a philosophical shift in some of our teaching methodology, said Violet M. Horst, assistant professor of nursing at EMU. "Certain patient scenarios that we could only talk about in theory can now be simulated in the laboratory setting before students go on-site."

The computerized manikins, other equipment and interactive software programs "will help students gain experience for real-life health crisis situations, do hands-on assessment of patient problems and refine their decision-making and critical-thinking skills," Horst said.

EMU received the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield grant in partnership with the nursing program at Blue Ridge Community College, Weyers Cave, Va. Some of the equipment will be shared with BRCC, and BRCC students will be able to use EMU’s laboratory equipment.

A service of dedication for the laboratory will be held Saturday, Apr. 9. At that ceremony, the facility will be named the Lisa Haverstick Memorial Nursing Laboratory in her memory.

"EMU faculty and students are excited about the possibilities these new tools offer for us to better prepare nursing graduates for the technological world of health care," Horst said. "We are grateful to Anthem and to the Haverstick family for their support and appreciate their recognition of the importance of nurses in providing safe and effective care in hospital settings."

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