Posted by Phillip Poole on 2008-06-10

Samford University's nurse anesthesia program has received a $788,389 grant for a clinical simulation program in the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing. The three-year grant is from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The funds, highlighted by a first-year award of $458,589, will be used to establish a clinical simulation program with special attention to training nurse anesthetists for rural and underserved areas in Alabama and Mississippi.

"This is a transformational grant," said Dean Nena Sanders. "We are very excited about expanding our nurse anesthesia program to better serve areas where most at risk' populations live."

Samford has a strong health care emphasis in Alabama's historic Black Belt region, and nursing students and faculty have been actively involved with those projects for several years.

"By having the rural and underserved areas of Alabama and Mississippi as a focus of this program, we will continue to contribute to the outreach efforts Samford is already sponsoring in several rural Alabama communities," Sanders added.

The master's degree program in nurse anesthesia began six years ago and received the maximum 10-year accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs in 2006. Currently, there are 65 students enrolled in Samford's nurse anesthesia program.

The grant will be used to enhance existing curriculum by using "innovative and interactive teaching methods with a particular emphasis on practice in rural and underserved practice settings," according to nurse anesthesia program director Mary C. Karlet.

The grant-funded project is designed to "prepare graduates with cultural and spiritual competence and the inclination and skills to practice in rural and medically underserved areas," Karlet said.

"One of the purposes of our project is to strengthen the curriculum by incorporating simulation activities. Our aim is to prepare nurse anesthetists who are capable of independent decision making yet work well in a team interdependent setting. Simulation case scenarios can help our students develop these skills."

The simulation project implementation will begin during the 2008-09 academic year.