OHIO Zanesville awarded Straker grant to add nursing lab equipment

Published: July 7, 2022 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University Zanesville was recently awarded a grant from the J.W. and M.H. Straker Charitable Foundation to expand nursing lab experiences throughout the campus with the addition of experiential learning equipment.

“Ohio University Zanesville’s goal is to create the strongest possible learning environments for all of our students and guide them toward their success as nursing professionals,” said Dean of Campus and Community Relations Dr. Hannah Nissen. “This project is essential to expanding the learning possibilities for our future community nursing specialists.”

OHIO Zanesville has a long history of educating local nursing professionals. Each year, approximately 100-120 students graduate from the campus Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (ADN) programs. 

“Nursing is extremely important in our community. Genesis is the largest employer in Muskingum County and so we wanted to make sure nursing students are prepared when they get on the job,” Susan Holdren, president and executive director of the J.W. and M.H. Straker Charitable Foundation, shared during her campus visit to announce the grant.

Nursing students at OHIO Zanesville learn from four high-functioning human simulators of various ages. Each simulator allows nursing students to demonstrate their learned skills in a realistic setting without a live patient. The Straker grant funds will add mobile teaching tools to offer a realistic hospital experience for nursing students on campus during lab activities.

“I think that Ohio University Zanesville stood out in the granting process because it was an innovative request – something that we hadn’t seen before,” Holdren said. “We really felt the benefit, that it would enable students to do so much better when they get on the job – we really felt that was very important.” Holdren also indicated that Genesis Healthcare System employs a significant number of OHIO Zanesville graduates, which was a factor in awarding the grant.

Straker Foundation staff review the nursing lab in Zanesville.
Assistant Professor Teresa Polen demonstrates how the nursing simulators work in action with Program Director Pam Kirst and President/Executive Director Susan Holdren.

The grant funds also purchased a mobile medication cart that simulates a real hospital experience. The mobile medication cart has a locked base that contains patient medications and a computer on top. The unit has a barcode scanner in which nursing students can scan the patient’s wristband barcode and then scan the medication prior to administration. The computer program simulates the patient’s chart, like hospital charting, therefore creating a realistic experience. With the grant, a barcode wristband printer was purchased as well, so that students can practice creating them for proper scanning. Each simulated medication in the medicine cart already contains a barcode that the scanner can identify.

“These products are a major expense and not one we would have been able to obtain without the assistance of a grant,” Assistant Professor of Nursing Instruction Teresa Polen said. “Thanks to the Straker Foundation, we at Ohio University Zanesville are fortunate to have these valuable teaching tools for our nursing students. We are excited to begin using these products this fall when students return to classes full-time.”

Additional items purchased with the grant funding included a mobile simulation screen, a mobile headwall unit, pediatric stethoscope and IV poles. The simulation screen has one-way glass, enabling the instructor to control the high-fidelity simulators while observing how nursing students function during the realistic simulations.

“Serving as the nursing lab coordinator, I am excited to see these valuable tools implemented. The purchased items will help to create a realistic ‘hospital’ experience for our nursing students, and we are excited to incorporate them into our teaching,” Polen said.

The OHIO Zanesville Nursing program is continuing to enroll for the fall semester. Students interested in learning more about the program or other opportunities on campus should visit the website.