Queensborough Community College’s Virtual Hospital Debuts on National Student Nurses Day

On Tuesday, May 8th, Queensborough Community College’s Nursing Department unveiled its new four-bed Virtual Hospital to a large group of invited guests that included Marian Conway from the Roslyn Savings Foundation and Bill Martin of the Verizon Foundation. The unveiling of the renovated laboratory space fell on National Student Nurses Day and during National Nurses Week.

Queensborough Community College has one of the largest clinical nursing programs in the New York Metropolitan area, and is the main educator of registered nurses in Queens. Each year, a high percentage of recently graduated students pass NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). 96.6% of Queensborough’s nursing graduates have passed the NCLEX for the first quarter of 2007.

At the forefront of nursing education since 1967, Queensborough has built a Virtual Hospital on the third floor of the Medical Arts Building that will offer more comprehensive training to an increasingly diverse student body and will provide a deeper level of practical clinical experience. It will allow more than 350 nursing students a year to hone their clinical practice skills. Patient simulation technology systems create a virtual hospital environment using sophisticated software, video graphics and life-size mannequins that allow students and trained professionals to practice new procedures and respond to real-life patient scenarios.

Through assignments in the Virtual Hospital, Queensborough students will refine their language and clinical skills and gain experience and confidence before they encounter real patients in clinical settings. This is one of the many strategies that Queensborough’s Nursing Department is utilizing to ensure that its student body is well prepared for modern, demanding healthcare settings. “The Virtual Hospital will provide the college’s substantial body of ESL students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the use of English in clinical settings,” said Dr. Maureen Wallace, Chairperson of the Nursing Department at Queensborough Community College. “This is crucial to their success.”

A $15,000 grant from The Roslyn Savings Foundation in the spring of 2006 sponsored the first two mannequins and helped to launch the project. The mannequins are the latest in educational technology. They imitate human physiological life signs and can be programmed to mimic a wide variety of clinical situations.

The Verizon Foundation provided a grant of $12,000 in December 2006, which helped expand the progress of the Virtual Hospital. The four mannequins necessary for the four-bed Virtual Hospital have been purchased. Together with in-kind contributions from North Shore LIJ Forest Hills Hospital, New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens and SafeWay Lifts, other equipment purchased with grant funds include the installation of working “head walls” with suction, oxygen and medical air to simulate an actual patient unit, all necessary equipment routinely posted in hospitals to prevent spread of nosocomial infections, such as touchless soap dispensers, touchless towel dispensers and hand sanitizers for each bed in the unit, Ergo slides – lifting and turning equipment to help prevent patient and staff injury, wall mounted blood pressure cuffs at each bedside were purchased, and air mattresses to prevent skin breakdown. Donated equipment includes respirators and 6 sets of anti-embolic stockings.

Along with Ms. Conway from The Roslyn Savings Foundation and Mr. Martin of The Verizon Foundation, representatives from local hospitals; members of Queensborough’s administration; Cheryle Levine ’75, President of the Alumni Association; and Harriet Kupferberg, Chair of the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives Fundraising Committee, were present for the introductions by Queensborough President Dr. Eduardo J. Marti and Maureen Wallace and the demonstrations given by nursing students and faculty.