Californian hospital tries to solve nursing shortage with virtual reality Health Skills Education Center

Long Beach 05 May 2004Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children's Hospital invested $10 million with California State University, Long Beach, as part of a precedent-setting $15 million partnership to address the United States' critical nursing shortage. Nursing education will now be available to more university students via a satellite campus at the hospital.

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On Thursday, May 6, Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children's opens a first-of-its-kind, virtual reality Health Skills Education Center with replica hospital rooms and human-like adult and child simulators hooked up to a computer, that react to medical treatment.

The prototype nursing partnership between the medical centre and university enables students to complete the nursing component of their RN/bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree in just two years instead of three and more than doubles the number of nursing students in the RN/BSN degree programme.

The Health Skills Education Center and life-size mannequins allow nursing students to experience the most realistic educational experience possible. Additionally, the open house will be the premier of a new Infant Human Simulator, the only such mannequin of its kind in the country.

"This initiative directly addresses the nation's nursing shortage while taking nursing education to the next level. Nurses will complete their education sooner and will be better prepared to transition from education to a clinical environment", stated Byron Schweigert, PharmD, CEO, Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children's Hospital.

Long Beach Memorial Medical Center/Miller Children's Hospital is the second largest private hospital on the west coast and one of a few in the country with adult, paediatric, cancer, heart, rehabilitation, emergency and trauma centres all on one campus.


Leslie Versweyveld

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