(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Texas State Technical College Nursing students in Harlingen and Sweetwater will be able to use simulators that will help them in the future.
TSTC was recently awarded Nursing Innovation Grant Program grants totaling $153,205. The program is facilitated by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and is funded through the Texas Tobacco Lawsuit Settlement.
The Harlingen program was awarded a $75,000 grant, while Sweetwater was awarded a $78,205 grant. The programs will use the funds to improve simulation curriculum, scenarios and equipment, including the purchase of Nurse Anne Simulators.
The faculty will be provided professional development to better comprehend and incorporate the simulation training into nursing practicums.
Mark Hampton, TSTC’s resource development specialist in Sweetwater, said the grant will allow students to work on skills in a controlled environment.
In the past, nursing students completed practicums in hospital wards or nursing home facilities. Over time, regulations changed, and the amount of time that students could spend in a medical facility decreased.
“Each of the practicums offered our students a little hands-on knowledge,” Hampton said. “It would have been the first time they did a real blood pressure check on a patient.”
With the new simulator, students will be able to complete half of their practicum requirements on campus and the remainder in the field, he said.
“These Nurse Anne Simulators will increase the realism of our simulations on campus,” Hampton said. “It will offer students real-life and real-job situations as best we can.”
The simulators may be programmed for any age group or condition, as well as a male or female patient. Hampton said instructors could ask students to perform a blood pressure check on a five-year-old child or find out what is wrong with a 70-year-old man.
“It has all kinds of changing parts,” he said. “Instructors can program the simulator for any situation, from an emergency room to a nursing home.”
Hampton said instructors will be able to watch a student examine, diagnose and treat the patient and then grade their work.
Instructors have been working to revise the curriculum to include the Nurse Anne Simulator. Software upgrades will also be made with grant funding, Hampton said.
TSTC was awarded the two-year grant and then began working to implement it into the curriculum. During the first year, instructors will revise the curriculum as needed, Hampton said, and implement the simulator.
“During the second year of the grant, we will perform an in-depth analysis and make sure everything is working to continue the simulations,” Hampton said.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.