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News Release
News Contact:
Cathy Summa-Wolfe
, Director
Communications & Community Relations
415-485-9528

New Clinical Simulation Center Opens

Unique collaboration of regional hospitals and higher learning institutions creates a crucial facility to provide hands-on training to thousands of healthcare workers in the Marin region

Novato, CA – May 4, 2007 – An extraordinary collaboration of regional hospitals and learning institutions announced today the opening of a state-of-the-art emergency simulation facility that will provide vital training opportunities to healthcare students and emergency workers in the area.

The Marin Simulation Center dedication ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 17, 2007 starting at 1 p.m. at the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus, 1800 Ignacio Blvd., in the Pomo Cluster. The event will feature a rare “Code Blue” demonstration by first year COM nursing students at 1:10 p.m. and a “Pediatric Emergency” scenario at 2 p.m. by Dominican University using an infant simulation mannequin. The public is invited to attend and refreshments will be served. Space is limited, so attendees should R.S.V.P. to nanda.schorske@marin.edu or call 415/883-2211 ext. 8200.

“The new center will provide much-needed medical training opportunities for our community,” said COM Superintendent/President France L. White, Ph.D. “We are excited about the collaboration and are looking forward to working together to make this a model program.”

The National Institute of Medicine reports that more than 100,000 lives a year are lost in preventable medical errors, many of which occur because emergency teams haven’t practiced in emergency and team situations.

The Marin Simulation Center located at College of Marin’s Indian Valley campus features advanced robotic manikins and realistic health emergency scenario presentations to increase the clinical skills of students from COM, Sonoma State University, and Dominican University as well as an estimated 4,000 healthcare professionals and emergency responders in the area.

The Center directly addresses two of the primary challenges in getting more nurses into the field: a lack of trained nurse educators and too few clinical settings for students to practice necessary emergency skills, said Nanda Schorske, dean of Workforce Development and College-Community Partnerships at College of Marin.

Because of technological advances and bottlenecks in training programs, the Board of Registered Nurses now allows nursing students to utilize a simulation lab environment for up to 25 percent of their required clinical rotations, which allows them to gain experience in rare situations. The new facility can accommodate multiple organizations running scenarios together, which will expand the opportunity to maximize inter-agency work and allow for disaster preparedness scenarios.

“I am very excited about the creation of this lab and even more pleased with the intra-agency collaboration that has led to its conception and birth,” said M. Jill Magri, chief operating officer of Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Rafael. “I am hopeful the Center will provide us with another tool to solve the nursing shortage in Marin County and enable us to continue meeting the healthcare needs of our local community.”

The Center will offer best practices in clinical training, flexible and responsive scheduling and design and distance learning connectivity. Whereas current simulation facilities on COM campus allow for some limited learning capacity, the new facility allows for a host of other learning experiences and accommodates many more people in the learning setting. A birthing simulation center will open this summer.

The Center will help meet a critical need for two particular skill sets: high-risk deliveries and critical procedures and interventions related to diabetes patients, Schorske said. All COM nurses will be able to have experience in “Code Blue” or emergency scenarios.

The project, launched as a collaborative regional effort from Day 1, is possible due to generous gifts from local healthcare industry partners. Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center, Marin General Hospital, and Novato Community Hospital contributed $60,000; and Sonoma State University provided a loan of $300,000 in high-tech simulators. There were several in-kind contributions as well such as operational planning and resource development from the Workforce Investment Board, and staffing support from Dominican University. College of Marin has provided facilities and leadership for the overall initiative.

“The strength of the partnership is really what is the underpinning of the simulation effort,” said Vickie White, assistant administrator of Novato Community Hospital. “We all have a common interest in seeing that the county has a simulation location that has what we all need and is a place where continuous learning at a very high level can take place.”

Mary Pieper-Warren, RN, a COM nursing instructor said the new facility bring a completely new dimension to learning. “It puts the students in a lifelike situation where they have to utilize all of their critical thinking skills. Their theory comes alive for them. It’s something that’s been lacking in nursing education up until now.”

# # #

The founding partners of the Marin Simulation Center Are pleased to invite you to the opening of the Marin Simulation Center 1-2:30 p.m., Thursday, May 17, 2007 at College of Marin, Indian Valley Campus, 1800 Ignacio Boulevard, Novato. The schedule is as follows:

  • 1 p.m.: Light buffet lunch and informal presentations.
  • 1:10 p.m.: “Code Blue” scenario with first-year nursing students
  • 1:30 p.m.: Welcome by Dr. Frances White, president and superintendent of the College of Marin Introduction and thanks to simulator supporters and guests Introduction to founding partners, leaders and taskforce members
  • 1:45 p.m.: Dedication 2 p.m. Tentative: Code Blue scenario.

RSVP nanda.schorske@marin.edu 415/883-2211 ext. 8506

Marin Simulation Center Founding Partners

  • College of Marin
  • Dominican University
  • University of California
  • Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center
  • Marin General Hospital
  • Novato Community Hospital
  • Sonoma State University

With support from:

  • Workforce Investment Board of Marin County
  • California Institute for Nursing and Health Care

Organizations expressing interest in utilizing the Center’s programs include:

  • Marin General Hospital
  • American Red Cross
  • Coastal Health Alliance
  • Marin County Disaster Preparedness Services
  • Marin County Public Health
  • Marin County Office of Education
  • Northern California Hospital Council
  • The Tamalpais
  • San Rafael Fire Department
  • Sonoma State University

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