GCU Nursing’s new home filled with facility upgrades
Story and photos by Ryan Kryska
GCU News Bureau
There was a lot of work to be done this summer when the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions at Grand Canyon University switched buildings with the College of Theology. But thanks to diligent planning, moving boxes wasn’t the only task accomplished.
CONHCP has been planning major facility upgrades for years. And on Thursday, faculty and staff hosted an open house to showcase what has come to fruition in the Natural Sciences Building.
The second floor is now home to a new simulation lab with nine clinic–style rooms for use by the college’s family nurse practitioner students, while the third floor now holds a second immersive simulation lab, which will be shared with both pre-licensure and acute-care nurse practitioner students.
“It’s very exciting. We are taking our training and our education to the next level,” said Rob Gaunt, faculty lead for the FNP program. “I think it will improve our students’ abilities to diagnose and treat problems in family practice.”
Assistant Dean Dr. Tamara Wisely said the college envisioned building state-of-the-art facilities more than a year ago. She predicted the FNP facility will take the college’s “advanced-program students to the next level.”
“We are just really excited to be able to implement this and our hopes are also to then incorporate the standardized-patient model, which will come in months down the road,” Wisely said.
Wisely explained that the standardized-patient model is used at many universities with medical and physician assistant programs, putting GCU on par with those offerings. The model trains professionals who are already in the field to come into classes and be a part of the lesson.
“Many facilities will use actors and they will train them to accommodate themselves to those case scenarios for the students to have an even higher level of learning,” Wisely said.
Nurse practitioner instructor Cathy Smyser, full of energy at the open house, said the facilities are a dream come true.
“For the FNP program, this is adding a level of excellence to make us one of the best in the country. It is that significant,” Smyser said. “It’s really a state-of-the-art facility that is going to impact our students and local health care.”
Up on the third floor, the pre-licensure and acute-care nurse practitioner students have quite the setup themselves.
The first immersive sim lab opened in spring 2018, featuring the latest technology in clinical simulation, including manikins (the medical spelling for mannequins) that have a pulse, blood pressure, a reactive chest and the ability to blink, cry and even give birth. Newly installed software and equipment will allow simulation activity to be recorded and analyzed to determine if there are any gaps in student knowledge. This allows for real-time feedback to students and allows faculty to analyze and trend the data.
But across the hall, students in the fall also will have an additional skills lab to practice what they learn in the classroom.
“The nice thing about this new space for our students is it gives them more opportunity to work on their skills and be in simulation,” said Vanessa Slaughter, clinical nursing simulation lab director. “This is the result of over a year’s worth of planning.”
Pre-licensure students who use the third-floor facilities will go on to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) following their studies – a test the GCU students have recently been passing with flying colors.
The college posted an NCLEX first-time pass rate of 95.65 percent in the second quarter of 2018, bringing GCU’s year-to-date rate to 92.86 percent — exceeding the year-to-date statewide average of 91.89.
The CONHCP dean, Dr. Lisa Smith, attributed the stellar test scores to the college’s great team of faculty and staff and to students’ increased exposure to lab and simulation.
Contact Ryan Kryska at (602) 639-8415 or [email protected].
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