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Nursing Program Receives Funding for Training Equipment

NursingStudents in the Collaborative BScN program at the Trent/Fleming School of Nursing will benefit immensely from a $355,200 grant that was announced by the provincial government this month.

"We're thrilled," said Trent University Director of Nursing Dr. Dauna Crooks. "It was amazing news – it really allows us some flexibility in providing learning experiences for our students."

The funding is designated for simulation learning and will be used to purchase training videos and highly mechanized, lifelike mannequins that perform human functions.

As well, a portion of the funding will go to train humans to simulate certain health conditions.

"You can have Alzheimer's disease and heart attack scenarios and because it's a real person, it's an added challenge for the students. With a mannequin you're pretending to talk to somebody - it doesn't have the same human element. It's far more challenging than working with the basic mannequins," said Prof. Crooks.

There is already one new basic mannequin in use within the program with more on the way.

"The computerized mannequins simulate heart and respiratory sounds - things that are really difficult to hear on a real person. The students also have the opportunity to practice on the mannequins over and over again and that is the value of learning," said Prof. Crooks.

The funding is the result of a grant proposal written to the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care by Prof. Crooks and Trent's Dr. Janet Rush as well as Fleming College's Kate Kincaid.

Prof. Crooks said the proposal was a "massive wish list" of equipment needs. The simulation equipment is necessary because there are increasingly fewer clinical placements for the rising numbers of nursing students within Ontario, she added.

There are large risks for nurses currently working in the health care system, said Prof. Rush.

"There is a need for high level skills because of increasingly complex patient care. The length of stay in hospitals has decreased and every bed is filled with patients that have needy, really complex health problems," she said.

"Nurses currently bear a huge responsibility and accountability for safe high quality care. In a safe, supportive environment the students are more able to take on responsibility with confidence," she added.

The funding could have educational benefits for Fleming's RPN program as well as community partners, clinical agencies that sponsor student placements.

"We would have the ability for them to do performance improvement in skills, education and in-servicing with the equipment," said Prof. Crooks. "This grant was created in a way to ensure that we are sensitive to our community and our collaborative partner's needs."

Photo: Prof. Janet Rush and Prof. Dauna Crooks with a training mannequin

Posted December 2, 2005


































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