It is projected that by 2020 in Texas, one in five Texans will be over age 60, the population of people over age 80 will increase by 179 percent, and more than 80 percent of those over age 65 will have at least one chronic health condition.
In addition, counties in the Texas Hill Country and West Texas are experiencing a rapid population growth. But despite expansion, the majority of these rural areas remain isolated and medically underserved.
“Given these challenging demographic factors, improving patient outcomes and patient safety must be a priority for Texas nursing and health care institutions,” said Alexia Green, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Anita Thigpen Perry School of Nursing.
The Perry School of Nursing has received a $250,000 gift from the RGK Foundation to establish a mobile simulation education program in conjunction with the F. Marie Hall SimLife Center to deliver simulation technology and expert faculty to nursing students, nurses, clinics and hospitals throughout Texas despite geographic distance and budgetary restrictions.
“Studies have shown that integrating simulation education with traditional teaching methods increases patient safety and competency of health care professionals,” said Sharon Decker, Ph.D., R.N., director of Clinical Simulations for the F. Marie Hall SimLife Center and Covenant Health System Endowed Chair in Simulation and Nursing Education.
The mobile simulation program will allow rural interdisciplinary health care professionals to receive competency evaluations and continuing education and training opportunities to which they otherwise would not have access.
The program also will help decrease overcrowding in clinical sites and increase nursing student enrollment by supplementing clinical training with clinical simulation. Research shows that in the future, at least 50 percent of all nursing clinical education will be provided in clinical simulation centers.
The three-year grant will unfold in three phases, beginning with faculty simulation experts from the Perry School of Nursing, Austin/Hill Country, and West Texas rural communities conducting “train the Trainer/Super/User” workshops.
These faculty experts will work with various communities to establish subsequent hands-on training sessions for a minimum of 300 nursing students, nurses and other health care professionals.
The mobile simulation project at TTUHSC is expected to begin July 1.
The RGK Foundation is an independent foundation established in 1966 by Ronya and George Kozmetsky. The Foundation's areas of interest include education, community, and health/medicine. The Foundation's interests within health/medicine are programs that promote the health and well-being of children and families, programs that promote access to health services, and medical research programs.