GVSU gift to area hospital enhances its simulation center

July 19, 2022 (Volume 45, Number 19)
Article by Michele Coffill

A recent corporate sponsor gift from Grand Valley to Trinity Health Saint Mary’s has helped the hospital purchase new equipment for its Grand Rapids interprofessional simulation center.

It's equipment that Vicki Swendroski, clinical quality specialist, said will help new nurses, like GVSU graduates Brittany Radtke and Elizabeth Gaugier, and other hospital employees master skills and practice new techniques.

"At the simulation center, it is simulation learning and mastery, not testing as in nursing school. We want people to do a task over and over until it's perfect," Swendroski said. "We're looking for time management skills and communication during simulation exercises."

The university's gift allowed for purchase of an obesity suit and leg edema shroud, both of which can be used with a high-fidelity manikin or a standardized patient, and a virtual reality headset. Gina Schrader, director of professional practice and development, said the items had been on their wish list.

"We are so grateful to Grand Valley for this gift, which allows us to create more realistic simulations for our staff," Schrader said.

The simulation center was established in 2010 and relies on grants and sponsored gifts like Grand Valley's to purchase equipment. Staff plan simulations and offer training for nurses, medical residents, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and lab technicians.

Radtke and Gaugier graduated from Grand Valley in April and now participate in Trinity Health's nurse residency program, which is designed for recent graduates. They said their education and training through the Kirkhof College of Nursing prepared them well for their first nursing jobs.

"We are paired with a preceptor throughout our orientation and these simulations are very similar to what we did as nursing students," Radtke said.

Gaugier, who works in the Emergency department, said the residency program is partly what drew her to apply at Trinity Health Saint Mary’s.

"We have seminars throughout the year of residency and I'm able to talk with people from all over the hospital," Gaugier said. "The simulations have helped a lot. By front-loading these experiences for us, I have all the tools I need when I step into a patient's room."

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This article was last edited on July 19, 2022 at 9:37 a.m.

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