A lead gift of $50,000 from a generous local foundation was recently granted to help the nursing program at Kent State University’s Geauga campus purchase advanced equipment that helps facilitate premier training.

However, $72,000 in individual and corporate/institutional donations are now being sought to help fully fund the simulation equipment for Geauga County’s only institution of higher learning, which maintains a campus in Twinsburg.

While 44 percent of Northeast Ohio’s nurses are graduates of the Kent State University College of Nursing, the shortage of registered nurses remains a growing problem in the region. The shortage is expected to reach 2,850 by 2020 — more than three times the shortage of 820 in 2017, according to The Center for Health Affairs.

KSU-Geauga has 60 students currently enrolled in its bachelor of science in nursing program and expects enrollment of 90 BSN students by fall 2019.

While KSU-Geauga is working to supply the community with nurses, it needs a financial boost to provide the best educational equipment in its simulated hospital room/nursing laboratory. Existing equipment is outdated and malfunctions frequently, hindering students’ educational progress, according to KSU officials.

"We need to stay competitive in order to fill the need with high quality nurses," says Melissa Owen, BSN coordinator at KSU-Geauga. "At this point, due to our lack of technology resources, we are being asked to do more with less. Our purchase of the SIM Man will allow our nursing students hands-on interactions with a variety of realistic simulated patients. By practicing mock scenarios with the SIM Man, they can carry out critical decision-making skills in a risk-free teaching environment.

"The evaluations we educators can provide as a result will help them to improve their learning experience."

The nursing program is committed to purchasing a state-of-the-art SIM Man 3G model for simulated clinical training, installed and ready to use by fall 2019. The model can display neurological and physiological symptoms and is designed to deliver the most realistic training possible (including automatic drug recognition, light sensitive pupils and bodily fluid excretion). These features provide the opportunity for students to practice many basic and advanced clinical skills without posing any risk to patients.

However, this SIM Man is not yet fully funded, and the model represents just part of a major effort to upgrade nursing instruction facilities and equipment at KSU-Geauga. Since the nursing lab is currently located in a temporary space not originally designed for clinical learning, a renovation project will be tailored to the growing needs of the nursing program, with a potential opening date of fall 2020.

The availability of advanced technology and equipment, such as the SIM Man 3G and durable medical equipment (hospital beds, bedside tables, etc.), will complement this institutional effort.

The community can support KSU-Geauga's nursing program by assisting in the remaining $72,000 purchase and installation costs for the SIM Man. To donate, contact the Kent-Geauga Associate Director of Advancement Molly Smith at 440-834-3761.

Outside donations will be dedicated solely to SIM Man costs. Any surplus contributions beyond purchase and installation demands will be put into a fund for the upkeep and maintenance of the SIM Man technology.

A total renovation of the KSU-Geauga Nursing Lab is planned in the near future.