Nursing Simulation Lab Opens at North Park University

CHICAGO, IL (September 12, 2011) – 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 3,000-square-foot lab on the north side of the campus was completed over the summer. It includes four simulation rooms, two control rooms and a conference room where students will debrief their class experiences.

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, says Linda Duncan, dean of the School of Nursing.

The nursing school has about 150 undergraduate majors and another 130 students in the master’s program. Students study and work at hospitals throughout Chicago.

The school will invite community and university partners to use the facility for continuing education. Nearby Swedish Covenant Hospital hopes to use the lab for its new graduate nurse residency program and to help experienced nurses learn new procedures, says Mary Shehan, chief nursing officer and senior vice president.

The lab will benefit people of other disciplines as well, Duncan observes. For example, the lab can be used to train hospital chaplains.

The university received its own education while planning the facility. Duncan traveled with Carl Balsam, North Park’s vice president and chief financial officer, to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to see its simulation laboratory.

The university has invested more than $1 million in the project, says President David Parkyn. Gifts and grants for the laboratory have been used to purchase equipment.

The university plans to formally dedicate the new lab during homecoming activities in October, including an open house for visitors.

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