CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Thanks to innovative practices that change both student and patient lives, two dedicated Island University professors from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS) will have their accomplishments recognized by the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL). Julie Fomenko and Susan Greathouse, both Clinical Assistant Professors at CONHS at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, will receive the INACSL Excellence “Best Practice Innovator” Award at the 2017 conference on June 21 in Washington DC.
This award is for those who go above and beyond in demonstrating commitment and use of innovative approaches to simulations. Fomenko and Greathouse were nominated by Dr. Bunny Forgione, Associate Dean of CONHS. The nomination was supported by Dr. Sharon Decker, Executive Director of the Regional Clinical Simulation Center at Texas Tech University. Their simulation program consists of created scenarios using highly sophisticated, computerized mannequins to engage nursing students.
“It’s quite humbling to see your hard work respected by an international organization known to be the experts in the field. It motivates me to continue pushing the envelope in our own simulation program,” said Fomenko. “For me personally, I am in the middle of my Ph.D. dissertation and our simulation program is the focus of my research. It means a lot to know that what we are doing is showing amazing results!”
The simulations have received positive feedback from students and hospitals on how well prepared Island University students are for real-world nursing experiences. Fomenko and Greathouse explained that the students have come out stronger, confident and more prepared to tackle the role of working in a healthcare facility.
“Julie and I both say that we’re saving lives,” said Greathouse. “Our students tell us how much our program prepared them for real-life situations with patients and saved lives. Our community partners say ‘I don’t know what you’re doing but keep doing it.’”
To continue doing good work and keep providing a robust educational experience, the nursing department will use part of their new $200,000 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordination Board to certify additional faculty members to complete modules in simulation. With this certification, the more faculty will be up-to-date with the best practices available and become Certified Healthcare Simulation Educators.
“Any time you certify, you have an increase in the quality of what you teach,” said Greathouse. “We have faculty members who have worked a little here-and-there with simulation, and we have faculty who’ve done a lot. This certification is going to bring all of us up to a certain level.”
Fomenko and Greathouse say the award couldn’t have been accomplished without a great group effort across multiple disciplines. They want to recognize the Islander Regional Hospital team, who research and prepare the simulations. The team includes Brayton Amidon, Eloisa Beltran, Mark Bremick, Julie Fomenko, Susan Greathouse, Kynda Orsak and Leah Seiger.
“We also have to thank our administration for giving us the leeway to push forward and create the work we have,” said Fomenko. “The simulations are time intensive undertakings, and we couldn’t do it without all the players. It’s the teamwork that makes the dream work!”