By Andrew Skerritt
The Florida A&M University (FAMU) School of Nursing (SON) opened its new simulation lab for students to gain hands-on clinical experience in a new state-of-the-art facility.
The ribbon-cutting occurred during the recent visit to the Tallahassee campus by U.S. Department of Education and Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) officials. The University secured $2.2 million in federal funding over three years to finance the construction and equipping of the 1,500-square-foot facility. Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) and Title III dollars were used to complete the work.
President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., thanked FAMU Title III Program Director Erick Akins, Ph.D., and Delores Glover, Title III Special Projects Coordinator, for their role in securing funding for the project. He also praised U.S. DOE officials for investing in FAMU with COVID-19 related funding, which was vital in helping the University navigate the pandemic.
“This will show you how we have invested those resources,” Robinson told the April 26 gathering. “The return on that investment are the young people who will help satisfy our society’s need for health professionals.”
U.S. DOE HEERF Director Karen Epps recalled that she was serving in a different role seven years ago, when during a visit to FAMU, Glover approached her about funding for the SON simulation lab in a space that was being under-utilized.
“It is an honor for me to be here to see the final outcome,” Epps said. “I’m an advocate for any students trying to pursue and attain a higher education.”
The Simulation Center features six simulation bays that are equipped with the latest technology, high-fidelity simulators, and task trainers. It includes one pediatric bay, one maternal-child bay, four medical-surgical bays and a provider office for a nurse practitioner. The Center is connected to a control room and can be streamed to the debriefing room and the Success Center on the first floor as needed, said SON Dean Shelley Johnson, Ph.D.
“This facility provides a safe, controlled environment to foster student learning, skills development, and critical thinking with the goal of improving student competencies and patient safety in the clinical setting,” Johnson said. “Simulation experiences will bridge the gap between theory and clinical practice through immersive, procedural, and mixed reality – virtual and augmented- simulation.”
The SON’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is accredited until 2026 and the Master of Science in Nursing program has continuing accreditation.