Ribbon Cut on New Simulation Lab
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Ribbon Cut on New Simulation Lab

When Samantha Wereszczak ‘22PA walked into the new Standardized Patient Simulation Lab, she said it didn’t feel like she was on the Salus University campus anymore. And, that’s exactly how she wanted it to feel.

Sim Lab ribbon-cutting“You want to be practicing patient interactions in an environment that mimics the real thing, so that when we’re out on rotations and doing assessments on real patients we will feel comfortable,” said Wereszczak who added the scrub station in the lab is very realistic, which will really help students learn how to scrub into surgery.

The University’s administration and Physician Assistant (PA) faculty members — practicing social distancing and limited in number because of the COVID-19 safety protocols — celebrated the opening of the new lab with a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 1.  

“What we’re standing in is a state-of-the-art patient simulation lab for our students who will now be able to work in a true clinical setting,” said Salus president Michael Mittelman, OD ‘80, MPH, MBA, FAAO, FACHE.

Sim Lab exam roomAs one of those students who will be utilizing the new lab, Wereszczak said the feeling of being in a real patient room, with the updated technology and equipment, will provide students with the opportunity to be better prepared when they start their professional careers.

“We don’t have to overcome a learning curve that we may have had to without these resources,” she said. “Knowing that Salus cares about our education and competency as future providers by giving us a space to grow and learn makes me grateful that I chose Salus.”

According to John Fitzgerald III, DO, FACOG, PA associate director, simulation lab instruction has become an important adjunct in academic medical programs throughout the world and locally, and is critical to providing Salus PA students the best training experience. Through the use of models, computerized patient scenarios and standardized patient encounters, students will have the opportunity to sharpen their ability to interview and examine live patients as well as master their procedural skills.

“This has even greater significance in times when clinical rotations are at a premium, such as with this this pandemic or local competition,” said Dr. Fitzgerald. “Whereas we used to bring our students in once during their training to an academic institution for this experience, we can now afford them a much more robust program. This Sim-Lab at Salus is world class with all the necessary equipment needed for student learning and faculty observation and instruction.”

Salus faculty and administration in the sim labA $500,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) made this specific project to improve classrooms and lab space possible. It includes a 10-bay open area for students to learn the technique of performing a physical examination and allows students to participate in both instruction and practice, as well as formative and summative assessments of their clinical and patient care competencies. It will also allow for standardized patient encounters, emergent and acute patient case scenarios, and the management of chronic medical conditions.

The PA Class of 2021 has already used the space for its fall “boot camp,” which helped them practice their clinical and technical procedural skills before starting clinical rotations, Donna Agnew, MSPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, PA program director, said. She added that training of standardized patients would soon begin in preparation for the student patient care assessments planned for the 2021 academic year. Additional training models and simulators will also be used to expand the program’s array of technical skills. 

Now that the construction is finished and our students and faculty can use the lab, please consider making a gift to place your name in the lab or dedicate a room.  

A gift of $1,000 will be listed on a wall plaque. A gift of $2,500 will be listed on a tile in the lab. Click here to make your gift today.  

If you would like to dedicate a room, please contact Jacquie Patterson at jpatterson@salus.edu.