Posted on Jan 23, 2017

USF Nursing renovates simulation lab creating real-world learning experience

USF Nursing renovates simulation lab creating real-world learning experience

Walking through the recently renovated USF Nursing lab there is one consensus – it is more realistic to today’s working environment.

The George & Marian Miller Center for Virtual Learning, also known as the experiential lab, received a much-needed facelift during the USF’s winter break. The renovation reorganized the 5,466 square-foot simulation lab. The assessment and computer lab were converted to 12 hospitallike patient rooms. There are four newly added separate simulation rooms with control rooms for observation, a skills lab with 10 beds, a community health room and a lab classroom that seats 40.

Dr. Gore teaches in the new classroom especially renovated for the simulation lab. This classroom provides students with the opportunity to prepare before entering the experiential learning environment.

“It (lab) felt crammed,” said Dr. Teresa Gore, associate professor and director of experiential learning in the George & Marian Miller Center for Virtual Learning. “It’s the same amount of space. We just reconfigured everything.”

“The students in the Nurse Practitioner program will benefit from practicing in individual clinic rooms,” said Dr. Cheryl Burkey-Wilson, assistant professor and director of the graduate adult-gerontology primary care concentration. “These rooms simulate what students will see in practice and will help build their confidence.”

The renovation allows for more opportunities for interprofessional learning. USF College of Pharmacy was one of the first group of students to utilize the simulation lab.

The 11-year-old lab now provides a more realistic simulation opportunity reflecting what nursing students will encounter in the real world.

“We wanted to improve the lab’s efficiency, while still providing the best learning environment for our students to follow best practices,” Dr. Gore said.

This is the first major renovation the lab has undergone since the building and lab were showcased in 2006. The original lab in the former College of Nursing building was a one room operation that consisted of 1,900 square-feet. In 1999, former dean Dr. Patricia Burns secured a gift of $500,000 from the trust of George and Marian Miller for the construction of the current center. The donation was matched dollar-for-dollar by the Florida State Legislature “matching” gift program.

USF Nursing showcased the George & Marian Miller Center for Virtual Learning during an Open House and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Jan. 20.

“I was stunned by the shocking difference of the renovated lab,” said Michelle Garcia, a seconddegree nursing student. “It seems more realistic to a hospital setting.”

Seconddegree nursing student, Tikisha McRae said, “In this new environment we will practice in a more realistic setting and it will prepare me better for my career as a nurse.”