North Park University Opens High-Tech Nursing Simulation Laboratory

Sep 08, 2011, 11:43 ET from North Park University

CHICAGO, Sept. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- North Park University opened its state-of-the-art nursing simulation laboratory this week, enabling students in nursing and other disciplines to practice critical skills in a simulated, safe learning environment.

The high-tech simulation lab was built during the summer in a 3,000-square foot, ground-level space at the University's Albany Park campus. It includes four simulation rooms, two control rooms and a conference room where students will debrief their class experiences. Video and audio recording of simulations will be routine in the new facility. More information about the lab's capabilities is at on the Web.

"This is a project of considerable scope and will offer a substantially improved teaching and learning environment for students in the School of Nursing," said Dr. David L. Parkyn, North Park University president. The University's strategic investment in this project is more than $1 million, he said. Gifts and grants for the laboratory have been used to purchase equipment.

In the simulation lab, students will practice their skills on high-tech mannequins or actors, while professors and others observe. Scenarios will be recorded and used in debriefing sessions. The student nurses will be placed in situations ranging from routine practices to high-risk or emergency situations, said Dr. Linda R. Duncan, dean of the North Park University School of Nursing.

When North Park was planning its laboratory, Duncan traveled with Carl Balsam, the University's executive vice president and chief financial officer, to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., to see its simulation laboratory. North Park's School of Nursing also plans to invite community and University partners to use the facility for continuing education, Duncan said.

Nearby Swedish Covenant Hospital hopes to use the lab for its new graduate nurse residency program and to help experienced nurses learn new procedures, said Mary Shehan, chief nursing officer and senior vice president. In addition to training nurses, Duncan said the lab can be used to train people working in other disciplines, such as hospital chaplains.

The North Park University School of Nursing has about 150 undergraduate majors and another 130 students in the master's program. Students study and work at hospitals throughout Chicago. The University plans to formally dedicate the new lab at Homecoming activities in October, including a planned open house for visitors.

SOURCE North Park University