The simulation center was funded in part by the Aspen Institute Prize for Community College Excellence awarded to WKCTC in 2011. Completed in October, the center is located in WKCTC’s Allied Health Building and includes six-bed stations that house high to medium fidelity mannequins — two adults, two pediatrics, a birthing mother, a full-term newborn, and one premature infant of 26 weeks.
In addition, the center has a respiratory ventilator, digital radiography portable chest X-ray machine, diagnostic sonography imaging machines for obstetrics, electronic medication dispensing equipment, bedside electronic documentation system, bedside monitoring, and other technology currently used in health care delivery in the region.
WKCTC has been using simulation technology for five years in its health care programs, but it was limited and discipline specific. The new lab will allow more than 300 students each year to utilize the center in a variety of areas including surgical technology, radiography, diagnostic sonography, physical therapy assistant, respiratory care, pharmacy technician, and nursing.
“The simulation center replicates real-life scenarios in a risk free, supportive environment where the complexity of quality patient care can be created, identified and practiced,” said Shari Gholson, WKCTC dean of nursing. “Changes in patient conditions can be incorporated in real time, reflecting physiological changes just as they would occur in real patients.”
In addition to lifelike mannequins that are able to illustrate a variety of bodily functions, the center includes a control room where instructors can watch students as well as use microphones to respond as patients for the students.
In a hospital clinical situation, a student might only get one chance to experience a certain procedure or might never experience certain aspects of patient care at all during an academic semester. The simulation center allows students more opportunities to practice and experience a variety of health care situations.
“We’re able to provide opportunities for our students to meet those important learning outcomes and to be competent practitioners upon graduation,” Gholson said. Students report a high satisfaction rate and increased self-confidence in the development of their critical reasoning skills.”
Gholson said the center can also provide excellent learning opportunities for area health care providers in our community.
“The simulation technology will allow us to develop scenarios very specific to a discipline so employers are able to help their employees, experienced health care providers, document their retained competency. This is a wonderful opportunity to impact our community in a strong way in positive health care outcomes,” Gholson said. “Not only are we going to be able to provide graduates for our workforce that are ready to transition into that workforce but we’re also going to be able to help provide that retained competency experience for experienced health care workers as well.”
For more information about the Multidisciplinary Health Simulation Center, contact Gholson at 270-534-3372 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Janett M. Blythe, a former reporter for The Paducah Sun, has been director of public relations at West Kentucky Community & Technical College for 19 years.