The Community College of Rhode Island’s groundbreaking new Clinical Simulation Laboratory is officially open, and the sparkling new space will give students studying health sciences a controlled environment to develop their skills and rehearse treatment of complex situations.
The impact of the lab, located at the Flanagan Campus in Lincoln, will be felt across the health care field in Rhode Island, officials said. It will help prepare students to enter high-demand health fields, grow the health care workforce and, ultimately, lead to better patient care in Rhode Island.
“Students in booming fields like nursing, dental hygiene and respiratory therapy can now practice treatment of complex medical situations in real time,” CCRI President Meghan Hughes said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Dec. 1. View photos from the event.
As the largest supplier of health care workers in the state, CCRI needs to prepare its students for jobs in these fields, officials said. Last year, CCRI graduated almost 500 students in the health science fields.
“With these numbers come a serious responsibility to prepare our students to be the highest caliber, well-trained graduates who are ready to enter the health care work force and, for some, to transfer to a four-year institution,” Hughes said.
The high-fidelity, multidisciplinary simulation laboratory features computerized, lifelike mannequins that can replicate a wide range of conditions and represent phases of life ranging from early childhood to gerontology. Students respond to ailments the mannequins demonstrate in a controlled environment.
“Our state-of-the-art simulation center will allow our health sciences students to experience unfolding cases that mirror clinical situations and will ultimately lead to improved patient care for our patients out in the community,” said Rosemary Costigan, interim Vice President for Academic Affairs.
The project was funded in part by a $324,000 grant from the Champlin Foundations, with a $675,000 investment from CCRI. The laboratory is outfitted with two simulation rooms, a control center and two meeting spaces for debriefing.
For students, the debriefing period will be an opportunity to sit with instructors and review their responses during the simulation.
“A lot of times when you are doing something hands-on in clinic you can’t go back and see what went wrong or what you did right,” said Shaniece Gonsalves of East Providence, a Dental Hygiene student. “With the sim lab, you have that opportunity.”
The realistic, innovative environment will help students engage in active learning that will prepare the future health care professionals in Rhode Island to provide safe, effective patient care.
“What makes an institution like CCRI so exceptional is the culture of continuous improvement and innovation that you have fostered here,” said Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health. “The clinical simulation lab is just the most recent item on a long list of examples.”
Rhode Island’s colleges play an important role in preparing students to have the skills for jobs that pay, and the simulation lab will help CCRI continue to fulfill that mission, she said.