The renovated Celtic Simulation Center for Innovative Learning (CSCIL), which opened its doors to Carlow University nursing students last fall, expanded from 2,000 to 4,000 square feet and now features state-of-the-art technology that simulates what nurses encounter in the real world.

The third floor houses the sim center and the debriefing, control and simulation rooms. The fourth floor has a nine-bed skills lab, examination room, student lounge and skills refinement room.

Simulation hours count as clinical hours for students. With the doubled space, the center has allowed students to increase their simulation hours by 20 percent, expanding upon their learning experiences and advancing their career preparation. With recent advances in technology, the level of realism in replicating the hospital environment has transformed the learners’ experience to become fully immersive and works to advance improved patient safety.

Danielle Curran, DNP, MSN, RN, director of CSCIL, sees firsthand how the upgraded technology is enriching her students’ learning.

“The new cameras located throughout the simulation rooms allow us to record everything. In the control room, there are several monitors where we can see the students and what is happening during their simulation. The cameras in the simulation rooms have the capability to zoom in or out to view any aspect of the simulation experience,” Curran said.

Bill Ferchak serves as the full-time technical support in the CSCIL and works closely with the faculty and students.

“The technological improvements in the lab have made learning more engaging for the students and has enabled the faculty to better focus on the teaching goals,” Ferchak said.

During simulations, students interact with high-tech mannequins equipped to mimic situations such as a heart attack or a woman giving birth. Afterward, students review recordings, evaluate their performances and discuss as a group in the debriefing room.

Sanju Sigdel, a senior nursing student, has high praise for the renovated center.

“Before the new center, I didn’t have a realistic idea of what would happen in an actual hospital room. After completing my courses in the CSCIL, I have hands-on experience which gives me confidence in my skills,” said Sigdel, who has accepted a nursing job in the transplant unit at Allegheny General Hospital and will begin her position after the completion of her board exams. According to Curran, the new facilities are attracting new students as well as students who are returning for a second career in nursing.

But the space isn’t restricted to nursing. Students in healthcare management, social work, healthcare data analytics and respiratory care now have access to the space, allowing for interprofessional education (IPE) with the interaction of disciplines.

The CSCIL also welcomes local organizations to visit and experience the new technology. Gwen’s Girls, whose mission is to empower young women, visited shortly after the center’s opening. The tour informed the young women about the educational and career opportunities of a nurse. The Carlow Campus Laboratory School students also visited.

“We are thankful for the support of our president, Dr. Mellon, and the Carlow University Board of Trustees, who made the renovation a priority, and to our donors, who committed to funding the renovation,” said Lynn George, PhD, dean of the College of Health and Wellness. “The result is an amazing learning environment for our students.”

By Sarah Norris