The primary goal of the Health Sciences Simulation Center (HSSC) at Samuel Merritt University (SMU) is to provide leadership in the use of simulation technologies, to improve the quality of healthcare education, and improve patient safety and outcomes. This is what Minako Ito, RN, PHN, MSN, quickly learned when she visited the Center at the Oakland campus in mid-February.
Ms. Ito is a visiting professor from St. Luke's College of Nursing in Tokyo. She teaches nursing fundamentals. It was her curiosity about simulation-based learning with nursing students that spurred an interest to visit SMU.
During her visit, professor Ito observed students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program conducting collaborative practice in a variety of clinical settings. The BSN students practiced on the mannequins that respond like a real patient, immersing themselves in caring for the mannequin-patient in a computer-simulated medical-surgical scenario.
Ms. Ito says she found the University and the School of Nursing to be state-of-the-art and "the faculty and students gracious, helpful, and exceptionally competent." She adds the visit made her reflect on her own teaching style and the importance of implementing simulated learning at St. Luke's College in Tokyo. She plans to share the SMU experience with her fellow professors in Japan.
"We have not developed high fidelity simulation learning programs because of the cost," said Ito. "However, when I saw the bright faces and the enthusiasm of the SMU students during class, I believe firmly that simulation is an effective and important learning methodology for students. American nursing students demonstrate critical thinking better than Japanese nursing students. A special thanks to all SMU faculty and students for this great experience."
"I have high regard for Samuel Merritt University and the faculty in the School of Nursing and thought this would be one of the highlights for Minako's trip," explained Anna C. Mullins, RN., DNSC, Director of the California Nurses Foundation.
Dr. Mullins adds that it is important for healthcare providers, such as nurse educators, to share knowledge, learning, and experiences with each other. "In talking with Minako, I have learned about nursing in Japan and have found that nursing in the United States and in Japan has more similarities than differences."
Ms. Ito is currently working with the Dr. Mullins on a fellowship to learn about mentor and preceptor programs in the country. "They have preceptors but not mentors in Japan and they want to implement mentor programs there. As nurses we have an international reach and building global collegiality and influence can only strengthen the profession."
The vision for the HSSC at SMU is to instruct and facilitate learning while objectively measuring a learner's performance and competency in the healthcare environment.