Henderson State University’s nursing department received a $140,447 grant to establish a health education simulation center on campus. The center will include new simulation equipment and professional development.
The grant was awarded to the Henderson State University Foundation by the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas. In all, the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas gave $2.7 million in grants for 2019 to improve health in Arkansas.
Henderson hopes to increase enrollment for its nursing programs by replacing 25-50 percent of clinical hours with simulation, which would help relieve the limitations from available clinical space.
“The increased enrollment will help alleviate the nursing shortage in our region and help us reach the goal of 80 percent BSN nurses available by 2020 as recommended by the Institute of Medicine,” said Dr. Shelley Austin, nursing department chair and assistant professor.
In spring 2018, Henderson received 57 nursing applicants for the traditional BSN program. But only 24 could be admitted.
“We had to turn away 33 qualified applicants due to lack of clinical space and lack of qualified faculty,” Austin said. “The center will enable us to increase our qualified, pre-licensure nursing students to 32 each year.”
The simulation center will be available to all health professional students at Henderson, including those seeking health-related degrees other than nursing. It will provide “real-life” experiences with guided learning scenarios in a safe, innovative environment.
“Nursing will be designated as the primary user of the HESC, but we will encourage students in our other health professional degrees to utilize it,” Austin said.
Henderson’s other health professional degrees include:
- Associate of Health Science
- Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Performance
- Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology
- Bachelor of Science in Radiography
- Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Medicine
- Associate of Radiography
Henderson just opened two new online MSN degrees: Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Administrator with a Nurse Educator Certificate. Students in the Family Nurse Practitioner program can utilize the center for demonstration of check-offs on physical assessment at the advanced practice level.
The majority of the grant funds will be used to acquire simulation equipment and professional development necessary to supply and sustain the center, Austin said.
“These funds will help Henderson develop a comprehensive and collaborative simulation center for regional partners and college health programs,” she said.
The center will include a Nursing Anne simulator, which is a skills proficiency full-body female mannequin built specifically for nursing education, and SimBaby Pediatric Simulator.
A grand opening is planned in May 2019, and simulation experiences will start in spring 2019.
“The nursing department at Henderson is truly grateful to the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas for giving us this grant to develop the simulation center,” Austin said. “The center will impact not only nursing students at Henderson, but it will impact other health professionals seeking degrees at the university, and the community by providing simulation learning to the health care workers of our region.”
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield established the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas in 2001 as a charitable foundation to promote better health in the state. The foundation awards grants annually to non-profit or governmental organizations and programs that positively affect the health of Arkansas.
In its 17 years of operation, the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas has awarded $33 million to 1,566 health improvements in Arkansas.