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LU nursing department earns teaching innovation award in collaboration with LIT

The JoAnne Gay Dishman Department of Nursing at Lamar University has won a statewide Teaching Innovation Award for 2011.

Department faculty members earned the honor from the Texas Organization of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Education, which recognized the department for a disaster planning simulation focusing on communication, teamwork, collaboration, quality and safety, said Eileen Deges Curl, chair of the department.

LU’s nursing faculty team, led by LeAnn Chisholm, instructor of nursing, collaborated with faculty members from Lamar Institute of Technology to provide the third annual interdisciplinary simulation experience for LU nursing students and LIT allied health students.

“We are excited about this outstanding achievement and for the excellent learning experience students have due to the interdisciplinary simulations,” Curl said. “Since 2006, Lamar University faculty in the JoAnne Gay Dishman Department of Nursing have been in the forefront in Texas in the use of high-tech mannequins to simulate different clinical situations. This award demonstrates that faculty in the Dishman Department of Nursing continue to be leaders in using simulations to effectively teach students to be safe, competent nurses who provide quality care.”

The award carries a $2,000 cash prize. The state organization encourages recipients’ schools to award a matching gift, which the LU nursing department will do, said Curl. The team decided to use the winnings to purchase items for future interdisciplinary simulations, she said.

Members of the LU team are Chisholm, Glynda Cochran, Mary Goodwin, Gina Hale, Rachel Kilgore, Patti Moss, Dianna Rivers and Seth Stephens. LIT team members include EMS program coordinator Tom Jones, Cynthia McKinnley, Gwen Walden and Allen Welch.

The formal name of the project is “Disaster Planning: A High-fidelity Simulation to Address Communication, Teamwork, Collaboration, Quality and Safety Among Undergraduate Baccalaureate Nursing Students, Respiratory Therapy and Paramedic Students.”

“High-fidelity simulation is an integral link in enhancing undergraduate education and enhances students’ comfort level to effectively perform as an interdisciplinary team,” Chisholm wrote in the proposal that led to the award. “In contrast to limited student participation in the acute clinical environment, high-fidelity simulation creates unique opportunities for students to engage in critical judgment.

“Therefore, giving students the opportunity to collaborate in a safe, non-threatening environment facilitates clinical decision-making, awareness of the roles of interdisciplinary team members and comfort level working with other health-care providers.”

Chisholm said the purpose of the project is multi-faceted: faculty interdisciplinary and intra-disciplinary collaboration; student interdisciplinary and intra-disciplinary collaboration; disaster planning and response; and application of critical thinking, clinical judgment and nursing theory related to care of acutely ill patients and their families.

The proposal summarizes the simulation: After discussion and before implementing the scenario, student participants are oriented to the high-fidelity simulator capabilities and assigned roles. The scenario begins when the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) is dispatched to an area of the university and local neighborhood in response to a tornado. An Incident Command Structure is activated and a Disaster Medical Assistance Team established at the site. Nurses, respiratory therapists and a physician/mid-level practitioner are deployed. Patients with minor injuries are treated and released, and the emergency team staffs the emergency department to receive the most critical patients.

After all the patients in the scenario are treated, students reassemble to review the video of the event and for a debriefing to discuss key elements, which include: Allowing students to express feelings of success and areas of improvement; prioritization; roles and responsibilities; analysis of the disaster plan and response; identification of vulnerable populations and community resources; analysis of therapeutic and professional communication; value of the interdisciplinary teach; and lessons learned in teamwork.

The Institute of Medicine and other national nursing organizations recommend interdisciplinary collaboration in health care, Curl said. “Using an interdisciplinary team approach is important for safe and effective patient care.”