March 26, 2019 - 12:00pm
VIU’s new Centre for Health and Science encourages greater collaboration between students and professionals across all health disciplines.
Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) new clinical skills and simulation labs engage students in interprofessional training that allows health care graduates to successfully compete for highly skilled, in-demand jobs.
The $40.9-million, 6,855-square-metre Centre for Health and Science, the largest capital project in VIU’s history, opened in the fall of 2018 thanks to the generous support from the provincial and federal governments and community partners. The first full semester in the new facility began in January 2019.
“The new building has had a dramatic impact on how we all work together with the consolidation of the different health programs into one space,” says Victoria Treacy, a VIU Bachelor of Science in Nursing student. “In the real world, Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and Health Care Assistants collaborate in their daily jobs; being able to do this at VIU makes the transition to the workforce easier.”
Dr. Patricia O’Hagan, VIU’s Dean of Health and Human Services, says the most significant impact for faculty and students are the opportunities for interprofessional practice that demonstrate best practices in patient-centered care.
The state-of-the-art electronic patient simulators engage students in scenarios that mimic adult and infant patients responses to real-life clinical crisis and issues presented in such settings as emergency rooms, hospital wards and the home.
Treacy, who graduates this spring, says the high-calibre sim labs change the dynamics for student learning.
“For me, the simulations are an important, realistic aspect of our training. We can actually have a code drill of someone experiencing cardiac arrest, we can listen to heart rhythms, we can listen to respiratory rates and learn what pneumonia sounds like before encountering these in real people in hospital,” says Treacy. “You are able to put into practice all of the skills you have learned in a very safe environment that doesn’t put any person at risk, including ourselves.”
“The Centre provides an innovative learning environment that prepares students for health-care jobs of the new millennium,” says Dr. Uta Sboto-Frankenstein, Research Navigator with Island Health and the BC SUPPORT Unit Vancouver Island Centre. “At Island Health we recognize that the integration of research labs with teaching labs for nursing and other health programs is essential for a continuously learning health-care system that provides excellent evidence-based health care.”
The University is actively seeking support through the Imagine VIU campaign to acquire additional health care equipment to supplement the higher-level training of students for today’s in-demand health care jobs.
O’Hagan is excited to explore more opportunities to bring community into the building.
“I believe there are opportunities for high school and international students to participate in scenarios which would help them identify their desire to enroll in a Health and Human Services program. The labs can also provide opportunities for emergency response personnel to train on state-of-the-art simulation mannequins.”
O’Hagan would also like to encourage community members and researchers to engage in dialogue addressing the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) for the most vulnerable people in our communities. “To that end, we are in the planning stages of an opportunity to host an international conference.”
The new building is the first phase of a $75-million multi-phased project that includes the construction of a second building. Once completed, the two buildings would replace three older buildings on the campus.
Photo Caption: VIU RN students Katie Cote & Victoria Treacy in a simulation lab. VIU RN Student Victoria Treacy checking infant simulation mannequin.Photo Credit: Vancouver Island University
Annette Lucas, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University
O: 250.741.2020 | C: 250.618.7296 | E: Annette.Lucas@viu.ca