Dr. Laura Hart
Dr. Rachel Seady, left, pediatric nursing instructor, College of Nursing at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, demonstrates the training capabilities of Pediatric HAL S2225, a new advanced technological tool in the college’s Simulation & Learning Innovation Center. Dr. Amy Lanz, right, associate dean, undergraduate, College of Nursing, observes. Pediatric HAL lets students practice healthcare techniques for child patients on a simulator that is more realistic than the center’s previous one.
Helen Lien | UAH

$50K Alpha Foundation, $10K UAB Medicine funding boosts Simulation & Learning Innovation Center’s capabilities

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Nursing welcomed an important technological training tool to its Simulation & Learning Innovation Center recently: an advanced pediatric simulator funded by a $50,000 grant from the Alpha Foundation plus $10,000 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Heersink School of Medicine, Huntsville Campus.

“The board of the Alpha Foundation believes that the UAH College of Nursing is a vital component of the excellent medical treatment and care available in our community,” says John Wynn, Alpha Foundation board member. “The Foundation’s support of the College of Nursing through this grant will enhance the learning experience of nursing students and contribute toward this quality medical care.”

Helen Lien | UAH

Dr. Karen Frith, dean, College of Nursing, appreciates the support of the Alpha Foundation as well as UAB Medicine.

“I want to thank the Alpha Foundation for its investment in the simulation capabilities of the UAH College of Nursing,” Frith says, adding, “Dr. Roger Smalligan, regional dean of the UAB-Huntsville Campus, is a strong proponent of interprofessional education and collaboration, so purchasing the pediatric simulator is a win for all.”

The new simulator, Pediatric HAL S2225, is manufactured by Gaumard Scientific and replaces PediaSim, the oldest of UAH’s patient simulators. Housed externally in a large case, PediaSim’s mechanisms required many cords, cables and tubes to operate. HAL’s electronics are internal, creating a more realistic experience.

“Having a pediatric simulator gives learners an opportunity to hone their skills in interacting with this population of patients in a safe learning environment before they interact with real patients,” says Mary M. Deason, center manager. “The previous pediatric simulator was out of date and malfunctioning. Having the new simulator will help UAH better train future healthcare professionals.”

On its website, Gaumard touts Pediatric HAL as “the world’s most advanced pediatric patient simulator and the first capable of simulating lifelike emotions through dynamic facial expressions, movement, and speech.” Features include “interactive eyes and active facial expressions” and “dynamic lung compliance with true ventilator support.” It also offers the ability to practice emergency interventions: “surgical airway, needle decompression, chest tube insertion.”

Helen Lien | UAH

Highlighting the importance of advanced equipment to nursing education, faculty and staff threw a “birthday party” reception to welcome HAL to the center on May 24. UAB representatives Dr. Lanita Carter, director of medical education and student services and assistant professor, medical education; Dr. Maria Salazar, associate professor, pediatrics, and Annye Smalligan, Skills Lab coordinator, also attended.

Located on the third floor of the Nursing Building, the UAH Simulation & Learning Innovation Center is a 10,615-square-foot state-of-the-art facility with a 16-bed hospital lab, 16-table assessment room, collaboration stations, four advanced practice provider clinical examination rooms, a telehealth room, a Pyxis medication room, and debriefing rooms.

The center provides a mock hospital for clinical experiences, including seven high-fidelity simulation laboratories with digital video and audio management systems, four medical-surgical suites, an ICU suite, and an obstetric/pediatric four-bed laboratory.