Building Better Nurses at USF

By Ed Carpenter, Office of Marketing Communications Posted Sun, 12/09/2012 - 16:00

Groundbreaking research underway at USF’s new $1.7 million nursing simulation lab could transform how nursing is taught at universities across the country and improve nurses’ on-the-job performance. 

Researchers there are studying whether student nurses learn medical procedures best by watching an instructional video, by performing them on a computerized mannequin, or by administering to faux patients (actors playing a part).

“We want to know whether one type of simulation training or some combination of the three is most effective,” said Judith Lambton, principal investigator on the project and professor at USF’s School of Nursing and Health Professions. It is an area that has never been studied before.

Undertaking the study required the construction of a new lab—paid for by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), with some funds contributed by the university. Officials at the DOD, drawing on their past experience with flight simulation, believe that medical simulation can increase nurses’ skills, reduce training costs, and improve patient care. 

Lambton hopes the research results lead to a new standard for medical simulation training. Its impact could be felt across the country, as other nursing programs incorporate the findings into their curriculum.

Pre-med psychology major James Victor Kimpo ’15, said he’s thrilled to be involved. “My experience with this project has been extremely valuable. I certainly hope and believe that this first-of-its-kind study will help improve nursing education, making it more effective for nursing students around the world.” 

The lab is currently reserved primarily for research use until the project wraps up in 2013. At that point it will be turned over to USF and become a dual-purpose teaching and research lab.

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