Renovation Update: Optometric Clinical Skills Lab

New, expanded, and renovated facilities are a central priority of the University, as we strive to transform into a technology-rich academic hub for professional development, multidisciplinary study, and a collaborative community resource. The redesign and renovation of the Clinical Skills Lab is intended to provide the University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry students with an optimum learning experience in a progressive atmosphere as technology rapidly changes and practice becomes more interdisciplinary.

As previously mentioned, the new, updated Clinical Skills Lab will feature state-of-the-art ophthalmic equipment and electronic health record capabilities in order to prepare the University’s optometry students for clinical practice. The Lab will house 34 fully-equipped optometric bays – 32 for student use and two designed as demonstration bays where instructors can demonstrate techniques to a group of students. Each bay will include slit lamps with teaching tubes and access to electronic medical records. There will also be a small number of bays that have automated equipment so students can develop a competence with this
technology. The Lab will feature instrumentation from a variety of manufactures to ensure our graduates are familiar with a diversity of equipment.

Clinical Skills Lab Committee
The demonstration bays will include slit lamps with mounted live feed video cameras for integrated instruction. Images captured by instructors with the cameras will be projected on large screens that can be viewed by all of the students present.

As our academic offerings have expanded, so has demand for use of our Clinical Skills Lab. First year optometry student, Annie Govan, is excited for the updated lab space. “I’m looking forward to the new Clinical Skills Lab because there will be more practice space to accommodate first and second year students,” she said. “There will also be less congestion near practicals and the more updated equipment gives students new opportunities to learn.” The
new expanded design will also be able to accommodate more than one lab section at a time allowing students in the Scholars or International programs enhanced access to this space.

The goal of this enriched facility is to prepare students for a seamless transition to their clinical instruction at The Eye Institute and during their externships. With the integration of slit lamps and electronic health records into the Lab setting, our students will be able to more fully benefit from the rich clinical experiences in their third and fourth years. Kaitlyn Kolzow, ‘19OD agreed that the new lab will better prepare students for their transition into the clinic. “There are so
many exciting and new things being added into the clinical skills laboratory,” she said. “I think integrating our EHR (electronic health record) will be incredibly beneficial and will help younger students feel more comfortable scribing for third and fourth years in clinic.”

Renovation of the new space will commence in January 2017 with an ambitious completion date before the start of the 2017-2018 academic year.