Grants allow real-world practice solutions in the School of Nursing

The JoAnne Gay Dishman School of Nursing has been awarded two grants for teaching equipment to enhance its simulation labs.

The Mamie McFaddin Heritage Foundation awarded the School of Nursing $29,303 and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has granted $118,161.

With funds from these generous grants, the School of Nursing plans to purchase older adult manikins that are
Nursing Grant Writers

Grant writers: LeAnn Chisholm,
Gina Hale and Cynthia Stinson

more realistic looking and accurately represent the human anatomy. The weight of the manikins is distributed to represent a real patient for lifting and carrying.

The grants will also allow students to experience life as their patients experience it by using wearable simulators. Students will personally experience a variety of age-related physical challenges such as stooped posture and restricted range of motion. The experience helps students develop a unique sensitivity and understanding toward the elderly. The aging simulator includes a sensitivity suit, walker, storage case as well as curriculum. Students who wear the simulators will experience visual impairments, mobility restrictions, tremors, hearing problems, which contributes to difficulty administering their own medications.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, experiences in the school’s Simulation Labs are even more important,” said Dr. LeAnn Chisholm, assistant professor and director, Edna Horn Gay Learning Center: Simulation Program & Support Services. “Our older adult patients are considered a ‘high risk population;’ therefore, nursing students are currently not allowed in some facilities with large populations of older adults and clinical space in all facilities is currently limited. Simulations provide an opportunity for students to practice and sharpen their clinical reasoning and judgment skills so that they are ready to re-enter our clinical agencies once the COVID-19 threat is lower.” 

While manikins simulate older adults and provide students the opportunity to “care for” an older adult in simulated scenarios, wearable simulators help students develop empathy for patients with mobility challenges, tremors, difficulty with medications, hearing and visual impairments.

Modular skills trainers will also be purchased to facilitate student clinical skill practice at home. The School of Nursing will purchase 80 trainers that are portable, allowing students to repeatedly practice skills and develop competency. The trainers are optimized for distance learning and independent practice.

Eileen Curl
Grant writer:
Eileen Curl
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created opportunities for innovation in distance education; however, hands on practice is essential in the development of nursing skills,” said Chisholm. “Modular task trainers allow students to practice skills at home and record their performance for faculty review.  The task trainers will benefit approximately 160 students in the spring 2021 semester.”

Students will use the modular task trainers to practice medication administration, injections, central line care, tracheostomy care and suctioning, nasogastric tube insertion, stoma care, specimen collection, urinary catheterization, tube feeding, wound care and more. 

“This additional equipment will provide a venue for nursing students to participate in rigorous educational experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to prepare them to enter the healthcare workforce as competent professionals,” said Chisholm. 

Grant Authors:
Chisholm, L.J., Hale, R.L., and Curl, E.D. (2020). Moving to virtually implemented nursing goals (MOVING). Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (peer reviewed). Funded $118,161. (Dec. 2020 -Nov. 2022)

Chisholm, L., Curl, E. D., & Stinson, C. (2020 Oct.) Mamie McFaddin Ward Heritage Foundation grant. (reviewed) Funded for $29,303.00 for geriatric simulator manikins and wearable equipment. (Dec. 2020)