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Nursing launches new state-of-the-art mobile simulation lab

Mobile Sim Lab
1/5/2010 —

Penn State Mont Alto’s Nursing department is launching the New Year by taking education on the road in a 32-foot Winnebago. Not your ordinary recreational vehicle, the new Mobile Simulation Laboratory (Mobile Sim Lab) is a state-of-the-art learning facility on wheels.  It is equipped with iStan (by METi). He is the most advanced mobile human patient simulator available. iStan is a high-fidelity mannequin, meaning that he moves, breathes, lives and dies realistically to give students as close to a human experience as they can get. He also affords students the opportunity to learn and to correct mistakes without causing harm to a real patient.

The campus’s Nursing department applied for and received a grant for innovation from Penn State in Fall 2008, and renovations begun. New carpet, reupholstered furnishings, a new lab space built where there was once a bedroom, custom interior and exterior wall wrappings, special lighting and custom audio/visual equipment were installed.

WellSpan Health has partially unwritten the Mobile Sim Lab with a generous corporate donation. It was first launched into the community in November with a Continuing Education course for local paramedics.  Penn State Mont Alto’s Nursing department has identified main priorities for the lab including education with simulation for its Nursing students, continuing education delivered directly to healthcare providers, recruitment, and community outreach.  “This is where we are going,” says Campus Coordinator of Nursing Carranda Barkdoll. “Simulation is one of the best ways to practically prepare nurses to handle medical situations and provide the highest quality of patient care.”

Barkdoll and Chancellor David Gnage first gained vision for the Mobil Sim Lab in Fall 2008 when Mary Unger, the mother of Nursing faculty member Elisa Kendall, offered her RV to the campus for educational use in honor of her late husband Robert. “We had an epiphany,” says Barkdoll.”  At the time, there were no other mobile simulation labs in the state of Pennsylvania.

“The Mobile Sim Lab provides an excellent nursing tool for our students, engages us more in the community, and makes us more attractive to nursing students,” said Chancellor Gnage. “We look forward to seeing where it takes us.” Barkdoll added, “The possibilities are many. Our only limitation is time.”

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