Where else will you find opportunities for students across six disciplines to participate in a simulation of a disaster, giving them experience that will prepare them for their internships and clinical experiences, and ultimately making them very competitive for professional positions?
Last Saturday, the Office of Planning and Evaluation, funded through a Title III grant, brought together more than 100 students together to address different elements of an accident through a disaster simulation drill. Students in our Physician Assistant (PA) program, Nursing, Justice Studies, Forensic Science, Environmental Management, and Athletic Training programs participated. By doing so, they collaborate with professionals through an integrated exercise that required a team approach to problem solving.
Why are such simulated experiences important? With each experience, students become more familiar with their proposed discipline, they learn to minimize risks, and they are ready to assume more responsibility. They also become skilled problem solvers who will be assets to any team.
Let me share just one example of why these experiences are so transformative and should be considered “best practices” for all educational institutions. Shortly after the accident, the “victims” were transported to the simulation hospital in the Nursing Building, where they were joined by high-tech manikins, providing multiple scenarios for teams of PA and nursing students. The scene was similar to a real-life hospital emergency room, with 10 simultaneous stations in operation. While the students worked on their “patients,” the entire exercise was being taped for debriefing afterward in order to maximize learning through the experience.
The scenes for the other teams of students were equally compelling, and they acted like professionals dealing with a situation, followed by a debriefing with faculty to enhance future outcomes.
When we designed the Nursing Building that opened a little over a year ago, it was with such integrated experiences in mind. These same features and capabilities are being built into our planned Health Sciences Building that will be constructed during the 2014-15 year. Such an approach is about more than state-of-the-art facilities. It is about preparing and graduating state-of-the-art professionals across disciplines.
How do we define “Culture of Excellence?” Simulation, collaboration, integration. Where can you find this? Where else but at Methodist University.