University of South Florida

USF Health DPT program launches cutting-edge simulation lab to enhance student learning

The USF Health School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences has launched a new state-of-the-art simulation lab – the Chalsty Rehabilitation Experiential Learning Laboratory – revolutionizing the way students gain practical experience in the field. This innovative facility allows students to familiarize themselves with inpatient settings, providing invaluable hands-on training before they embark on their clinical education or begin their professional practice.

Designed to simulate real-world environments, the simulation lab offers a safe space for students to hone their skills and become acquainted with the intricacies of patient care. By familiarizing themselves with the equipment and procedures commonly encountered in clinical settings, students can build confidence and enhance their overall readiness when transitioning to actual patient care.

Located conveniently within the school building, the simulation lab ensures seamless integration of theory and practice. Students can seamlessly transition from lectures in the adjacent classrooms to the simulation lab, applying the knowledge they have just acquired. This proximity facilitates a comprehensive and efficient learning experience, enriching students’ educational journey and preparing them for future challenges.

“Our clinical partners have expressed their satisfaction with the training provided through our program,” said Melissa Lazinski, PT, DPT, DHSc, assistant professor of the USF Health School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences and a board-certified orthopaedic clinical specialist. “When students arrive at the clinic, they are not starting from scratch but are already familiar with many essential aspects. This allows them to hit the ground running, adapting to diverse inpatient settings more effectively.”

The significance of the Chalsty Rehabilitation Experiential Learning Laboratory extends beyond the convenience it offers to students. It enables learners to navigate the complexities of patient safety, intervention appropriateness, and monitoring. By incorporating realistic patient pathologies into the training scenarios, students develop a deep understanding of the critical factors involved in ensuring the well-being of their future patients.

“The reason we want to make sure that students get to practice their skills here is because, depending on what the pathology is for this patient, the students are going to have to understand and determine the safety of the patient and make sure their interventions are appropriate and safe,” said Bini Thomas, PT, DPT, MSA, EdD, assistant professor of the USF Health School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences.

While celebrating the accomplishments of the new simulation lab, the USF Health School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences remains committed to continuous improvement and exploring further advancements. With a passion for innovation, faculty and staff actively seek opportunities to enhance lab utilization, improve the curriculum, and pursue future advancements.

Furthermore, by providing these valuable learning experiences in-house, students gain exceptional opportunities. The advanced technology sets a new standard in physical therapy education, nurturing the growth of skilled and compassionate professionals.

Story, video and photos by Ryan Rossy, USF Health Communications

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