Bringing Learning to Life: State-of-the-Art Simulation Center Opens at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

With more than 24,000 square feet of space, The F. Marie Hall SimLife Center at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center allows students from all disciplines to acquire a variety of skills through multi-modality instruction. The center prepares students for a career in health care without the risk of injuring patients.

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Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine students Julia Marcella Willingham and Tejas Ozarkar practice on an infant simulator in the new F. Marie Hall SimLife Center in Lubbock, Texas.

Working together as a team and learning each other's roles and realms of practice improves patient outcomes.

Lubbock, TX (PRWEB) September 10, 2010

Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D., president of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) today announced the grand opening of The F. Marie Hall SimLife Center, 3601 4th St., first floor Room 1C425.

The SimLife Center has been named a Laerdal Center of Educational Excellence. Laerdal is one of the leading providers of emergency and patient care solutions in the world. The Center of Education Excellence designation is awarded to centers that have consistently demonstrated excellence in educational philosophy and programs for the purpose of helping save lives.

Clinical simulation laboratories like the SimLife Center, allow students to acquire the full range of skills needed for nursing, medicine and other health care professions, ranging from drawing blood to delivering babies — all without the risk of injuring patients.

Mannequins in the high-tech simulation center include Noelle, a “woman” who gives birth, and Harvey, a “man” who offers opportunities for students to learn about cardiovascular diseases such as heart murmurs and aortic dissections.

Mitchell said the new simulation center would not only be used by students from all disciplines, but by faculty and health care professionals in the community as well. He said the center is an excellent location to host continuing education courses that will increase communication among different health care fields.

“This is not just something we’ll use for students,” Mitchell said. “We’ll use it for faculty members as well. You could also take this and utilize this for continuing education for nurses and physicians that are in the community.”

Mitchell added, “Part of our mission educationally is to make sure we have as much interdisciplinary teamwork as we can, and this is a great tool for doing that.”

In 2009, longtime Texas Tech supporter Ms. Marie Hall gave a major gift allocated to establishment of The F. Marie Hall SimLife Center, an educational clinical laboratory that promotes safe, quality patient care through innovative simulation technologies.

The more than 24,000-square-foot facility is open to students from all schools at TTUHSC and features multi-modality simulation instruction areas including primary and acute care, a standardized patient program, simulation using advanced patient simulators and haptic devices, and 3D visualization.

Tejas Ozarkar, a student in the TTUHSC School of Medicine, said he believes working in an interdisciplinary center with a variety of simulation modalities will put him ahead of medical students at other universities.

“I really think that I’m going to be so ahead of my colleagues in the future because I will not only will have been able to interact with these advanced simulation dummies, but I also will have been able to interact with the other health care professionals,” Ozarkar said.

Elizabeth Tompkins, a student in the TTUHSC School of Nursing, said she looks forward to working with other disciplines in the simulation center for the opportunity to learn as a group.

“I believe students understand that working together as a team and learning each other’s roles and realms of practice improves patient outcomes,” Tompkins said.

Sharon Decker, Ph.D., R.N., director of The F. Marie Hall SimLife Center and Covenant Health System Endowed Chair in Simulation and Nursing Education, said the facility provides a unique environment in which students of the health sciences can develop both discipline specific competencies and skills mandatory for interprofessional collaboration, communication and teamwork.

“Learning in a simulated environment allows students to make mistakes without the need for intervention by faculty to prevent patient harm,” Decker said. “Research has demonstrated that simulation provides an effective method of teaching while promoting learner satisfaction and self-competence.”

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