By Jordan West

CLEVELAND, Ga (TMNews) – Since the program’s beginning in 2013, the Truett-McConnell Nursing Division has strived to educate future nurses with excellence. Thanks to two grants totaling $145,000, the Nursing Division was recently able to purchase two new simulation manikins for their students. The state-of-the-art technology allows students to work with patients experiencing simulated births and better prepares students for their upcoming careers.

Seeking to provide the best education

Dr. Gary Jarnagin, Director of Financial Development, explained the beginning of the journey to purchasing the manikins. He said, “Celeste approached me in late 2014 sharing her desire to purchase additional simulators so that our nursing students could be provided the best possible educational environment.”

Jarnagin continued, “While researching possible foundations that would match-up with our need, The Georgia Baptist Health Care Ministry Foundation and Carolyn King Ragan Charitable Foundation seemed to be a good partnership. After applying for the $145,000, we were happy that God granted Truett-McConnell a blessing through these two foundations.”

This specific grant request was for the one SimMom, one Nursing Anne, six Keri manikins, and six simulated hospital beds to be used for instructional purposes.

True-to-life experiences

Lisa LaPree, Assistant Professor and Clinical Coordinator, described the two new manikins stating: “The SimMom simulates different kinds of births. If there’s a problem, we can simulate a different position for the baby as well. We can simulate the water breaking, so it is something the students can see before they go into the hospital.”

She added, “We have a Nursing Anne, which also is a high-fidelity simulator. Any position a delivering mom can go in, she can go in as well.”

TM’s Nursing Division purchased a SimMan in 2013 when the program began. The program has benefitted greatly from their original simulation manikin, and LaPree is confident that the newer purchases will only increase the quality of education for the students.

“We have been in SimLab and started using the manikins on February 3,” LaPree said. “We received them the end of January, and got trained in the end of the week, and we started using them the end of the week.”

She explained, regarding SimMom, “They can simulate cutting the cord and everything. There are different uteruses you can put in, such as if the patient has lots of bleeding, or if they have clots. We can attach a bag and put some cellophane across it, and rupture membranes that simulate her water breaking. We are able to use dye to help simulate blood.”

The manikins can simulate a normal birth, but the instructors are also able to change the settings to allow students to care for a patient who is in an emergency situation. LaPree said, “She has a blood pressure cuff, and the students can listen to her heart or lungs. We can give her blown pupils to simulate a patient who has been in an automobile accident.”

Each manikin is equipped with a computer screen, which the instructors have access to as the students monitor these manikin patients. LaPree added, “The computer screen with each manikin looks just like a hospital computer screen. On SimMom’s screen, it will show the contraction pattern, and the baby’s heartbeat, so the students can see everything they would actually see in a hospital.”

Building better nurses

Jessica Barnes and Stephany Lozano are both juniors in TM’s Nursing Division, and they feel the experiences they have had with the simulation manikins have been invaluable.

Lozano said, “I’ve gotten to do about three births. By the third time, I had learned to take precautions to keep the patient safer.”

Barnes agreed, saying, “In the SimLab, we are in an environment where all the pressure is off. We get to really go through the steps so that we are more confident when we get into the real experience in the hospital. We will know what to do because we have been through the steps so many times here.”

She went on, “We have run through scenarios when the baby is coming out in different positions, and we are able to do a cervical exam to feel if the baby is breech, how dilated we think the patient is, and we can see what that feels like. It gives us such a real experience.”

They are thankful for the advances they have seen in the program. Lozano emphasized, “The manikins are really unique to the program, and I know the other classes before us didn’t have this. We are able to come in the SimLab in small groups, so the individual coaching is really personalized.”

She added, “We also have professors like Mrs. LaPree, who have years of experience pouring into us. Because we are able to learn in such a small group, it’s very beneficial.”

A lifelong investment

Dr. Emir Caner, President of Truett-McConnell shared: “Nursing is a natural fit with the students God is sending us at Truett-McConnell. These students have a Christ-ordained calling to love, serve, and help others through the profession of nursing.

“With two new state-of-the-art manikins and the best faculty on earth,” he added “our students will be equipped to serve at the best hospitals in America or in the most remote locations around the globe.”

Both Barnes and Lozano are aware of the investments TM has made in the Nursing Division. “We feel very blessed that the school has invested so much in us, and in our education. It feels really good to come in here and know that we have all of these tools available to us” Barnes said.

Barnes is also confident that her experience with the manikins is preparing her to be a better nurse. She said, “Post labor, you can take all of SimMom’s vital signs and listen to her heart. It’s neat to be able to take her blood pressure during delivery and then after delivery, and compare it.”

Barnes went on, “We are really grateful to Dr. Caner, that he cares so much about what we are doing, and that it’s so important to him to put money into the program.”

“More than anything,” Lozano emphasized, “we are just grateful to God that He provided people who could make this possible. The investment in these manikins costs more than my nursing career, and we are so thankful that they made this investment. The way that God is faithful to this program and faithful to us is such an encouragement.”

A nurse’s mission field is the hospital where they are serving, and Barnes knows she is preparing to serve well at TM. She said, “When we go into the hospitals, we will be caring for patients whose families are going through some of the worst times in their lives, and it will be such a great opportunity to share the love of Christ. We are learning how to do that at TM.”

Dr. Gary Jarnagin concluded, “Our students deserve the best. With these two simulators and the new hospital rooms, all of the nursing students will have the best possible equipment to train, so that they may go out and minister to all people groups around the world.”


Jordan is a senior English major and an intern for the Communications Department.

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