News - 07/11/2013

MiraCosta College Nursing Program Receives National Recognition

Sue Simpson

MiraCosta College is one of but a handful of educational institutions chosen for a prestigious national award for its excellence in geriatric nursing instruction.

Representatives from the college’s Nursing Department will travel in September to Washington, D.C., to be recognized for their “exceptional innovation in teaching care of older adults, a key area of nursing education,” states an email from the National League for Nursing to professor and registered nurse Sue Simpson (pictured) and Associate Dean Sandy Comstock.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized,” Simpson said. “This shows the community that we serve that we are responding to our population’s needs and doing what we can to understand and treat our geriatric patients.”

MiraCosta College’s Nursing and Allied Health Program offers a full career ladder for nursing, including certified nursing assistant, home health aide, licensed vocational nursing and registered nursing. It is in the Nursing 281 course that Simpson was cited for her exceptional work.

According to an application to the National League for Nursing Hearst Foundations Excellence in Geriatric Education Awards, Simpson took the lessons she learned at a 2012 workshop at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo and wove them into the current curriculum to create a more realistic course on geriatric nursing. A key element was crafting composite patients with specific ailments who were then recorded by volunteer voice actors. The audios “gave personality and a basis for discussion,” the application states. “The students found this activity engaging. The rich story set the stage for the following class sessions where the students participate in unfolding case studies weekly.”

Said Simpson: “The idea is there is a person behind this, a family, an individual. It’s more interactive. Students are not just learning from a book.”

Former students spoke highly of the class’s impacts.

“When I encounter geriatric patients in my clinical experiences, the voices of Henry Williams and Mr. Oshi (two of the recorded ‘patients’) resonate in my head,” wrote registered nurse Michelle Grabiel. “I am attentive and sensitized to the geriatric population’s unanticipated changes in health, caregiver roles, family dynamics, comorbidities, cultural considerations, and financial concerns. Overall, I believe I am a better nurse because of your efforts to integrate these simulation scenarios into our curriculum.”

The Excellence in Geriatric Education Awards “recognizes schools of nursing that demonstrate exceptional instruction and innovation,” states the National League for Nursing’s website.

The National League for Nursing, founded in 1893 and headquartered in New York, is a professional organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education.

Simpson will accept the award at the National League for Nursing Education Summit in mid-September.

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