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OCU Nursing School Wins Federal Grant for High-Tech Patient Simulators
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City University’s Kramer School of Nursing will take on two new patients next year – not living and breathing ones, but they’ve got heart and lung sounds, blood, sweat and more.

The school has received a $231,860 federal stimulus grant to purchase two patient simulators and two video systems that will allow students to view and analyze their work. The METI iStan patient simulator systems are highly sophisticated, life-size mannequins that can be programmed by faculty to display the signs and symptoms of a variety of diseases. They also respond to faculty-generated computer commands in real time, explained Marvel Williamson, dean of OCU’s Kramer School of Nursing.

“These artificial patients have heart sounds with variable arrhythmias, lung sounds mimicking a wide variety of respiratory conditions, intestinal sounds and palpable pulses throughout the body,” Williamson explained. “They can be given injections and respond to medications. They can go into cardiac arrest, be catheterized, intubated, tube-fed and more. The value of simulators, as in airline pilot training, is to give students a chance to practice in controlled, lower-stress environments before turning to real patients for experience.”

Williamson said the simulators will allow faculty to create scenarios for student practice that cannot be scheduled in live patients, such as heart attacks and other crises.

“This allows student a way to practice critical thinking and rapid decision making under the guidance of faculty.”

OCU’s Kramer School of Nursing has been addressing the national nursing shortage by expanding and adding programs. Due to enrollment growth, construction of a 50,000-square-foot, 3-story building is scheduled to be complete by January. The new building will add three nursing skills labs to the school for a total of four.

The grant is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Bureau of Health Professions, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under grant number D76HP20949 titled “Lab Expansion for BSN Growth” for $231, 860. 100 percent is from federal funds through this grant.

Photo: Oklahoma City University’s Kramer School of Nursing received a federal grant to purchase two high-tech METI iStan patient simulator systems and two video systems. (Photo Courtesy of METI © 2010)