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Gift supports nursing program at Appalachian

BOONE—A $20,000 gift from David and Tamela Everett of Hickory and Everett Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac to Appalachian State University’s College of Health Sciences has added another level of realism for students training in the Department of Nursing’s simulation lab.

View larger imageNursing students Lindsey Miller, left, and Rebekah Mattox review wound-care procedures in the Department of Nursing’s simulation lab at Appalachian State University. Assistant Professor Dana Brackney, right, monitors their technique. A $20,000 gift to Appalachian’s College of Health Sciences from David and Tamela Everett of Hickory and Everett Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac was used to purchase overhead cameras and microphones used to record students’ nursing techniques for later review and evaluation. (Photo by Jane Nicholson)

The gift was used to purchase five in-ceiling cameras, hanging microphones and a recording/monitoring control station used in the lab’s simulated hospital setting. Assistant Professor Dana Brackney from the Department of Nursing directs the simulation lab. She said the equipment is used to record student’s interactions with the mannequin “patients,” enabling them to critique their clinical skills.

The equipment also allows her to give a voice to the mannequin, such as that of an elderly person or someone with mental health issues or someone who doesn’t speak English – all adding another level of realism to the students lab experience.

“It’s an amazing education tool,” Brackney said of the equipment. “The student practices talking to their patient and responds to what I say through the mannequin. When they watch themselves, they can correct their performance.”

The equipment delivery and installation was made possible by $6,500 worth of in-kind technical support from Wake Med Health & Hospitals in Raleigh.

“Now that we have this set-up, students really get the feeling of being on their own when they are working with the mannequin,” Brackney said. Juniors use the lab to practice tracheotomy and ostomy care, dressing changes, Foley catheter placement and IV and nasogastric line insertion. More advanced skills are practiced in the senior year.

Brackney said training in the simulation lab with audio/video feedback benefits the student and their future patients. “I believe that this kind of setting develops the whole person. It’s not just developing their hand skills,” she said. “The interactive nature of the lab means a student is better prepared for that human element, to deal with a variety of people and circumstances and integrate that with their nursing care. Nurses need to be highly skilled and accurate in their skill. This helps improve the student’s proficiency. We want them to be well prepared for the hospital setting they will be in.”

The simulation lab is used by junior and senior nursing students. It also will be used with students enrolled in the Wake Forest School of Medicine’s physician assistant program, which will soon include a Boone-based cohort. After taking the basic science immersion coursework at medical school, the students will begin nine months of preclinical training at Appalachian. After that, students will start their year-long series of required and elective supervised clinical rotations in locations across the region and country.

Tamela Everett is a 1979 graduate of Appalachian with a degree in management. The Everetts have also supported other campus initiatives.

The College of Health Sciences began offering a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in May 2010. The program admits about 45 students each year. For more information, visit