SUBJECT: Learning Laboratory and Mobile Clinic Project, School of Nursing
In the past 15 years, nursing has experienced an explosion in the use of technology to deliver quality health care. A similar explosion has occurred in the use of technology to augment and improve the education of healthcare professionals. The School of Nursing must continue to upgrade technology and resources used to teach students an expanding body of medical and nursing knowledge. A state-of-the-science learning environment enhances the traditional approach to teach nursing skills which is through repetition with patients in the actual clinical setting. Using newer technology such as virtual reality, students can easily master these skills in a simulated environment before practicing with clients. Students expect to participate in the state-of-the-science learning environment as part of a high quality nursing program.
The School of Nursing has a long history of providing community based care. Currently the School offers educational and assessment services at five Topeka locations: Abbott Community Center, Salvation Army, Topeka Rescue Mission, Let's Help and Mission Towers. With the addition of a mobile clinic to the five established clinic sites, basic health care options are expanded to include the medically underserved population in Northeast Kansas communities while providing a learning environment for students, under faculty supervision, to practice health assessment skills learned in the state-of-the-science Learning Lab.
The Mobile Clinic will provide a greater number of Kansans with access to basic health assessment and education. Student nurses will provide education on the prevention of disease such as diabetes, management of chronic disease, guidance in smoking cessation and nutrition, for example, to give individuals control over their personal health.
The School of Nursing serves many constituent groups. The historical and main mission of the School is to educate persons to become professional nurses. To maintain the innovative, high quality reputation of the educational programming, the School needs a Learning Laboratory that provides computer assisted instruction, virtual reality and simulation opportunities, and state-of-the-science technology to augment student experiences in the clinical environment.
The Learning Laboratory will provide learning experiences for many other groups beyond the traditional BSN student. One important group is registered nurses whose licenses have lapsed. The School of Nursing provides an RN refresher course to nurses who desire to re-enter the workforce. These nurses are essential to address the nursing shortage and will benefit from the Learning Laboratory experience. The Learning Laboratory also is a resource for distance education programs that articulate Registered Nurses to complete their baccalaureate degree in nursing. In keeping with Washburn University School of Nursing commitment to the Topeka community, this facility will be used by other community groups such as the National Youth Sports Program Camp held each summer. Other groups may have the opportunity to refresh critical care skills or other skills in a clinically-focused continuing education course.
The Learning Lab and Mobile Clinic experiences will result in:
Consistency in skills exposure resulting in better prepared students and better quality of care
Retention of students
Enhanced learning experiences for all students in culturally diverse communities
More students choosing Washburn University School of Nursing
Strengthen community partnerships while meeting the needs of the medically underserved.
When this project was conceived by the School of Nursing, estimates were made for the total cost of the project, $550,000, and a challenge was issued by the administration. That challenge was for the School of Nursing to fundraise a minimum of $190,000 by December 31, 2003, and if accomplished, the University would allocated university reserves to fund one-half of the project cost or $275,000. On December 23, 2003, the fundraising total was $194,000.
The total project budget is $550,000, and is to be funded by a combination of fundraising and university reserves. The University administration requests $356,000 be allocated from university reserves to enable the project to move forward for a Spring 2004 completion. The School of Nursing will continue its fundraising efforts to achieve the $275,000 goal. When the goal is achieved, the commitment from university reserves will be reduced by $81,000 ($275,000 minus $194,000).
President Farley recommends the Board of Regents approve the allocation of university reserves in the amount of $356,000, and authorize the administration to proceed with bidding this project.
(date) Jerry B. Farley, President