The University of Arkansas at Monticello will soon have a simulation laboratory for its nursing students equal to any in the state thanks to $400,000 in anonymous donations.

The announcement was made today by UAM Chancellor Jack Lassiter, who called the new facility “essential to our commitment to making our School of Nursing a leader in nursing education, not just in Arkansas, but in the nation.”

Lassiter praised Linda Yeiser, vice chancellor for advancement and university relations, for securing the funding for the laboratory. “Mrs. Yeiser has been in her current position for less than a month and has already made a significant impact on the institution,” said Lassiter. “This donation will be very beneficial to nursing education in the state and will provide opportunities for continuing education for practicing nurses.”

Yeiser expressed gratitude on behalf of the university “for the selfless donations made by individuals who wanted nothing more than to insure the future excellence of our nursing program. We are grateful for their generosity and their willingness to make a difference for our students.”

The donations will pay for construction as well as all equipment needed for the laboratory. Some of the largest expenditures will be for high-fidelity manikins known as SimMan, SimMan 3G, SimMom, SimJunior, SimBaby, and SimNewBorn. The manikins, which can be controlled remotely from a control room adjacent to the lab, can simulate crying, moaning, seizures, genetic defects, strokes, heart attacks and any number of other health conditions. Cost of the manikins ranges from $30,000 to $70,000 each.

“The impact of a laboratory like this will be enormous,” said Dr. Laura Evans, dean of the School of Nursing. “We can use the lab as a clinical site, which is tremendously important at a time when area hospitals have a lack of space and there is so much competition for clinical time from other schools. The Sim Lab will make a wonderful teaching tool. It will provide a realistic setting and allow the students to make mistakes, get back up and try again.”

The SimMom manikin simulates child birth and can be used to simulate C-sections. “A lot of hospitals in this region will not allow our male nursing students into labor and delivery,” said Evans. “This will give our male students exposure to medical procedures they might not receive any other way.”

According to Evans, the Sim Lab will allow for more interdisciplinary teamwork with nursing students from the Crossett and McGehee campuses, help UAM’s nursing program achieve Gold Standard Certification, provide research opportunities, create partnerships with area hospitals, and allow for faculty certification.

Brandy Haley, assistant professor of nursing and simulation coordinator for the School of Nursing, said the new laboratory will “provide realistic clinical opportunities and experiential learning for our nursing students. It will allow simulated hospital experiences to be developed in our simulation lab which creates a risk-free environment for our students to learn.”

According to Haley, the SimMan 3G is the next best thing to having a live patient. The latest SimMan model measures the quality of CPR, providing real time feedback on compression rate, depth, release, and hands-off time as well as generating palpable pulses and blood pressure wave forms. It can also be used to create seizures and convulsions, from minor to a full convulsion.

Wound models can be connected to an internal blood reservoir which will bleed both from arterial and venous vessels. Connected to the simulator’s physiological modeling, SimMan 3G will react appropriately according to treatment.

The manikins include wireless simulated patient monitors to enable students to observe the patient simulator’s vital signs while moving around freely during training. The manikins also have a secretions feature (eyes, nose, ears, and mouth) to create multiple scenarios such as responsive reactions to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents.

A drug and event recognition system allows students to administer drugs simultaneously. It registers the amount, speed and type of drug automatically and applies the appropriate physiological responses.

SimMan 3G also has pupils that respond to light and have standard vascular access in the right arm, as well as access via the tibia and sternum, which allows for procedure accuracy.

UAM already has simulation equipment, said Haley, but it lacks the “fidelity to make realistic experiences for our students. It’s been our dream to one day have a superior simulation training center that would challenge our students to be excellent nurses who are able to think critically.”

Members of the faculty of the UAM School of Nursing pose following the announcement of funding for a new simulation laboratory.

Pictured in the photo above, left to right, are Shela Upshaw, director of practical nursing, UAM College of Technology-Crossett; Dr. Laura Evans, dean and associate professor; Jacqueline Bryant, assistant professor; Sharon Walters, associate professor; Anita Shaw, associate professor; Brandy Haley, assistant professor; Christine Felts, associate professor, Heidi Hogue, assistant professor; Linda Yeiser, vice chancellor for advancement and university relations; Leia O’Fallon, associate professor; and Peggie Orrell, director of practical nursing, UAM COT-McGehee.

Jim Brewer
Director, UAM Media Services