LAKEWOOD RANCH — As a new nurse, there were plenty of times when Bonnie Hesselberg had moments of uncertainty.
But there were others when a little extra training not only saved a patient’s life but also became a teaching tool for others.
As the provost for the State College of Florida’s Lakewood Ranch campus, Hesselberg now is seeing her dream for nursing education fulfilled with the opening of the Medical Technology & Simulation Center.
“As an intensive care nurse, I had a vision,” Hesselberg said. “For me, I would have liked to have had something live this. I’m absolutely thrilled.”
State College of Florida officials welcomed faculty and members of the media for a special open house of the new center Aug. 20, just days before ushering in students for the fall term. The 42,000-square-foot facility features a state-of-the-art intensive care unit lab, complete with Medical Education Technologies’ patient simulators, as well as electronic medical records, a drug recognition system, medication-dispensing devices and a centralized nursing station.
The Lela Mae Abbott Nursing Skills Lab includes an eight-bed skill set and equipment to lift up to 650 pounds so students can learn to handle patients safely, and a nursing assistant lab offers a private physician office setting.
Although student role-playing is essential, being able to simulate patient care so intimately — from monitoring heart rates and breathing to more complex scenarios — will offer students hands-on experience and help them overcome fears, Hesselberg said.
“We can let them make the mistakes they need to make,” Hesselberg said. “The goal is to have safe, confident, competent well-educated practitioners.”
Nursing instructor Beverly Hindenlang agreed. After conducting research on the use of patient simulators in a teaching environment, Hindenlang said she was convinced the technology will be an asset.
“It’s fantastic,” she said. “It gives them the experience and the skills in a more relaxed setting. You can do so many things with simulators.”
In a simulated environment, for example, students can purposely administer the wrong dose of a drug to see how it would affect a patient, or a nursing teacher could simulate cardiac arrest or other medical conditions to see how students interact with each other under pressure, she said.
Even SCF President Dr. Lars Hafner made sure to show off the new facility and its intensive care unit lab to Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice), incoming Senate President Mike Haridoplos (R-Merritt Island) and Sen. Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton), who were in town for a forum.
“It raises the bar, and we can be very proud we will be producing the best nurses who have the best stills and be able to integrate them into the health care system at the highest level,” Hafner said. “The community is very fortunate to have a facility like this.”
SCF officials formally broke ground on the $12.2 million project in February 2009.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].
The central nurses’ station in the Intensive Care Unit Lab serves as the hub for intensive care units, which include cardiovascular, neuro, surgical, trauma, medical and pediatric intensive care units as well as a birthing suite and a neonatal unit.