LOS ANGELES – (December 17, 2010) – Upon entering the Life Sciences Research Nursing Education building at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, it feels as though one has walked into an actual hospital, not a school. The $43 million state-of-the-art facility, the Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing, has one of the most advanced simulation labs in the United States.
One of the most unique features in the facility are the top-of-the-line human patient mannequins in the 12-bed simulation lab. These mannequins are all anatomically correct and represent adults children, elderly and newborn patients. They are so technologically advanced; they cough, talk, urinate and have audible heart and lung sounds. Students can insert intravenous lines into them to ease their “distress” and to make diagnoses. Says Dr. Gloria McNeal, Founding Dean, “Typically, when students graduate from nursing school, they have cared for two patients, and while they may know a lot about the care of those two types of afflictions, they have not been in a dynamic environment. What we are trying to do here at CDU is to offer students hands-on experience in every environment, so that by the time they graduate, they know what to do when a patient requires care. They will gain familiarity with patient care, triage, family interaction—all of the real life situations they will encounter in their professions. From an educational standpoint, this experience will well prepare students for a career in nursing. ”
A full scale nursing station monitors the “patients” who are electronically wired into the system so that heart rates and vital signs can be observed by the students. Intensive care skills are developed through the critical care bed in the lab. If a “patient” requires advanced treatment, the facility has an operating room where students practice real-life situations and gain trauma experience.
In addition to the aforementioned coursework, students get an in-depth understanding of the birthing process in the birthing center and the neo-natal ICU simulates a critical care environment for premature babies and newborns.
Says Dr. Richard S. Baker, newly appointed Provost of CDU, “Our goal is to be the premier mission based organization in the country and our focus is to transform the health of underserved populations. The level of academic excellence practiced at the School of Nursing is unparalleled and in keeping with the high academic standards established in our mission. We see the offerings of this facility as a new chapter in our legacy, which will incorporate telemedicine and medical mobile units, cutting edge programs that focus on health disparities in diverse communities, and in the near future, a doctoral nursing program.”
Currently, the school of nursing offers an entry level Masters of Science in Nursing curriculum of study and enrollment is open to anyone who currently holds a BA or BS degree. The program is designed to run at an accelerated pace so that students graduate in five semesters, which is in just over 2 years. Furthers Baker, “Not only will we turn out a graduating class that is extremely capable and experienced, but we will also help deflect the critical shortfall of nurses in the State of California and beyond.”