Graduate Program in Nurse Anesthesia Human Anesthesia Simulation Center

Oct. 1, 2011

BCM allied health students in the nurse anesthesia program use high-tech simulators as part of the education and training.
BCM allied health students in the nurse anesthesia program use high-tech simulators as part of their education and training.

Nurse anesthesia students at BCM's School of Allied Health Sciences have a new tool in their training that will give them real-world experience. A new Human Patient Simulator was funded by a grant from the Health Resources and Service Administration.

This funding, in combination with support from BCM, has enabled the nurse anesthesia program to design, develop and implement an anesthesia simulation laboratory equipped with the highest human simulation technology in the world, according to Jim Walker, director of the graduate program in nurse anesthesia.

Realistic environment

Simulation technology, based on aviation simulation and developed by Medical Education Technologies Inc., affords nurse anesthesia students access to a realistic operating room environment, providing vast learning opportunities. All learning activities in the simulation center can be video and audio recorded through METIVision technology to allow analysis and debriefing after a learning episode. The simulation laboratory provides a safe learning environment that allows the student not only to master technical skills, but also to integrate knowledge into practical applications prior to providing care to real patients.

High-fidelity Human Simulation

The simulation lab also includes fully automated Laerdal child and infant simulators, as well as advanced airway management mannequins. Airway management techniques training is augmented by an Olympus videoscope and advanced airway management mannequins. The GPNA simulation lab also includes Blue Phantom ultrasound task trainers and a Sonosite S-nerve ultrasound machine that offers learning experiences in peripheral and central venous access as well as peripheral nerve blocks. The program is integrating this high-fidelity human simulation into all facets of the curriculum.

"This will allow student nurse anesthetists to progress from novice to expert through knowledge acquisition, competency development, competency attainment and competency verification as they progress through the 36-month curriculum," Walker said.

BCM's Graduate Program in Nurse Anesthesia is an exemplar of excellence among nurse anesthesia programs. The curriculum has transitioned from a master's-level curriculum to a doctoral-level curriculum. The inaugural class matriculated into the doctor of nursing practice in nurse anesthesia curriculum in January 2011.