The University of Central Arkansas received a $149,991 grant from the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas during a special presentation on the UCA campus on Monday (Feb. 10).
The grant is for the purchase of specialized training simulation equipment for the Nabholz Center for Healthcare Simulation. The state-of-the-art simulation lab provides students with lifelike scenarios that prepare them for the collaborative health care work environment.
“We are grateful for the support of the Blue & You Foundation. As a leader in health care education in Arkansas, this grant further enhances our ability to provide exceptional training for our students,” said UCA President Houston Davis. “With more than 90% of our College of Health and Behavioral Sciences graduates remaining in Arkansas, this grant will help us make a significant impact on the quality of health care in the state.”
“Helping to build and expand the medical workforce in Arkansas is important to the health of all of our citizens, and the UCA nursing program plays an important role in training nurses for the future,” said Patrick O’Sullivan, executive director of the Blue & You Foundation. “Our grant to UCA for the purchase of medical simulation equipment was one of only 39 awarded throughout Arkansas from among a record-high 261 applications, which is an indication of the significance of the work that UCA is doing to provide high-quality nursing training that will help many Arkansans live healthier lives.”
The purchase includes the BD Pyxis Medstation 4000, a state-of-the-art automated medication dispensing unit used by hospitals, and three high-fidelity simulation manikins — the Nursing Anne Simulation for development of core nursing skills; SimMom, an advanced full-body birthing simulator; and Nursing Baby, an infant manikin that simulates a 6-month-old patient. The simulation center is primarily utilized by nursing students but is also used by other departments within the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences.
More than 300 students receive training in the center each semester.
“The high-fidelity simulators provide our students with opportunities to practice critical thinking in health care situations that they may not be exposed to until they are working as licensed registered nurses,” said Susan Gatto, director of the School of Nursing. “These nonthreatening realistic simulations build their confidence and prepare them to enter the workforce as competent health care practitioners.”
The center’s usage will continue to increase with its planned expansion into UCA’s new Integrated Health Sciences Building, which is currently under construction.
In addition to the expanded Nabholz Center for Healthcare Simulation, the 80,000-square-foot facility will be home to the School of Nursing, the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and an Interprofessional Teaching Center to be utilized by the entire College of Health and Behavioral Sciences. The facility is scheduled for completion in fall 2021.
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield established the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas in 2001 as a charitable foundation to promote better health in Arkansas.