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Expanded Healthcare Simulation Center ready for more learners

What started as a 5,000-square-foot facility on Jacksonville University’s campus, the Healthcare Simulation Center is now more than six times the size and able to serve more students and health professionals than ever. 

The 2,569-square-foot event space in the Healthcare Simulation Center.

The center at 5940 Beach Blvd., which first opened in the fall of 2019, completed renovations in 2021 to expand it to 31,443 square feet and incorporate hospital bay training stations, life-like medical manikins and debriefing rooms.

A major component of the renovation added flexible, collaborative learning spaces such as an executive conference room, a 2,569-square-foot event space with the latest recording and presentation technology and 13 classrooms. 

“We were in need of additional space for the growing needs of the community healthcare systems,” said Dr. Kathleen Kavanagh, executive director of the Healthcare Simulation Center. “The Center remained open throughout COVID-19 and continued to train large groups of nurses to prepare them for entering into the nursing field especially during a pandemic. The additional space allows for diverse groups of health professionals to train together as interprofessional teams.”

A new classroom space in the Healthcare Simulation Center.

Several years ago, Jacksonville University began looking for additional commercial space off-campus when demand for simulated training outpaced capacity at the on-campus Simulation Training and Applied Research Center (STAR Center). After renovating part of a vacated building that once housed a for-profit junior college, the simulation center opened on Beach Boulevard, offering a first-of-its-kind facility for community providers and working professionals. 

The driving goal is to reduce medical errors and improve patient care in a collaborative training space. The facility offers learners a realistic hospital space with high-fidelity and mid-fidelity manikins in all stages of life including infants, children, adults, pregnant women and elderly patients. The center also includes flexible classroom spaces, simulated hospital patient rooms, and a staged residential room for assisted living simulated training. 

Classrooms have space for a manikin and hospital bed for hands-on learning.

As expected, demand for the facility quickly grew and after just a year, JU decided to expand. The expanded space means more students and health professionals can hone their skills in a safe, interprofessional setting.

JU nursing students, Baptist Health’s RN Residency program and soon, Respiratory Care master’s students utilize the space for training. 

It is currently offering courses to healthcare professionals in ACLS, BLS and PALS, as well as two courses for nurse practitioners in advanced diagnostic reasoning and treatment and advanced pharmacology. 

“The simulation space allows them to make mistakes and learn from​ them on manikins or task trainers without harming a patient in the clinical setting,” Kavanagh said.

For more information on the HSC, visit www.ju.edu/healthcaresim/.

By Katie Garwood