School of Nursing receives $100,000 for purchase pediatric patient simulator

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The Fairmont State University School of Nursing has received $100,000 from grants and private funders to support the purchase of an advanced pediatric patient simulator that will provide its students with enhanced learning opportunities and realistic real-world experiences.

“In the acute care clinical environment we are not able to guarantee that all students can participate in the care of pediatric patients. Many times, if at all, students are frequently placed in the role of an observer,” said Laura Clayton, associate dean of the School of Nursing. “The use of simulated learning experiences will allow the students to assume the role of a registered nurse caring for pediatric clients, including those who are acutely ill.”

The Maier Foundation, Inc, through a $50,000 grant, along with the Carl DelSignore Foundation, through a $25,000 grant, and an individual anonymous funder provided the $100,000 needed to purchase the simulator.

“Our current pediatric simulator is over nine years old and provides limited learning opportunities for our students,” Clayton said. “At the time of its purchase, it was considered the state of the art; however, simulation manikins have progressed in the last couple of years.”

The pediatric simulator will be purchased after the new year and will be available for students by late spring.

“Fairmont State prides itself on the depth of experiential learning opportunities we offer,” said Fairmont State University President Mirta M. Martin. “The hands-on experience our nursing students will get by virtue of this generous gift will not only make them stronger, more well-prepared health care professionals, but it will also help set them apart from other job candidates upon graduation.”

The primary focus of the Maier Foundation, Inc. is on the furtherance of higher education in West Virginia and on the higher education of West Virginia residents attending colleges and universities elsewhere. In addition, the Foundation makes educationally-related distributions to cultural and other organizations in the Kanawha Valley.

“Our hope is that these funds will assist the School of Nursing as it upgrades its simulation laboratory to provide an enhanced learning experience for the students,” said Brad M. Rowe, president of the foundation.

The Carl Del Signore Foundation was created after the passing of Carl Del Signore in 1985. Del Signore was the son of Italian immigrants and hailed from Tucker County. He quit school in the tenth grade, fought in World War II on the USS Harder and later formed the Buffalo Coal Company, as well as many other companies.

“We are glad to be a partner with the School of Nursing in providing the best educational experience for their students,” said James L. Crickard, treasurer of the foundation.

The ASN program was established at Fairmont State University in 1964 and a RN-to-BSN program was added in 1989 and LPN-to ASN program began in 2009. For academic year 2018-19 there were 249 ASN students in the program (178 traditional program, 38 LPN-ASN, and 33 Weekend) and 150 RN-BSN students.

In May, Fairmont State University’s School of Nursing was ranked the No. 1 nursing school in the state by RNCareers.org, a team of nurse educators, nurse practitioners, RNs and LPNs who work to provide the information they wished to have when they started their nursing careers — including credible nursing school rankings.

Also in May, Mon Health Medical Center signed a two-year agreement to provide $100,000 a year for two years to support new faculty positions at the assistant/associate professor rank, which will allow the university to increase the number of students taken into next year’s nursing program by eight and provide advising for nursing students.

Employment opportunities for nurses are projected to grow at a faster rate (15%) than all other occupations from 2016 through 2026 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). West Virginia’s average RN salary is around $58,000, nearly $15,000 more than the state’s median household income.

“In a state where jobs that offer good wages and benefits are hard to find; where the health care industry is growing; and where an aging and unhealthy population will require more care, nursing degrees offer part of the solution,” said Julie R. Cryser, president of the Fairmont State Foundation.

The use of simulation for clinical learning activities provides students with hands-on real-world opportunities that have been shown to enhance skill development in critical thinking decision-making, delegation, prioritization, collaboration and teamwork, thus allowing students to be immersed in the full scope of practice as a registered nurse.

These grants and gifts to support the purchase of the pediatric simulator were made through the Fairmont State Foundation Inc., the non-profit organization that solicits and administers private donations on behalf of the Fairmont State University.