The establishment of the Mary Smart Simulation Center in the summer of 2006 was the result of the dedication and focused efforts of a number of individuals. It started with the vision of the then provost of the Warrington campus, Dr. Marcia Williams, in designing the “virtual hospital” into the plans for the building in 2001. Two seminal events then served as catalysts to allow the 400 sq. ft. simulation lab to become the approximately 12,000 sq. ft. Mary Ekdahl Smart Center for Patient Simulation Training & Research.
The local hospitals, concerned about the nursing shortage, approached the college and funded planning to expand the associate degree nursing program. This eventually led to the college receiving a three year $1.3 million dollar U. S. Department of Labor Community-Based Job Training Grant in November 2005. One objective of the grant was to integrate high fidelity simulation into the nursing curriculum. Although the funding was not for purchasing additional simulators or hiring full-time staff, it did allow for travel, consultants, and faculty development related to simulation. It also allowed us to furnish the debriefing rooms and enhance the authenticity of the simulation suites.
The second event was the generous donation of Bill and Mary Smart to the Pensacola State College Foundation to support the establishment of the Center. His focused gift allowed for the purchase and installation of the recording system to complete our ability to implement the debriefing model based on the Harvard Center for Medical Simulation approach to debriefing. The IP addressed system also has allowed simulations to be projected into classrooms across the district.
The momentum for the growth and development of the Center continued as the college, leveraging earlier efforts, received a series of state grants. Also, the college president, Dr. Thomas Delaino, demonstrated his endorsement and support for the Center by committing over $100,000 of capital outlay and renovation funds to remodel spaces and to upgrade the technology infrastructure.
Approximately 12,000 sq. ft. of instructional and related space has been designated for the Mary Smart Simulation Center. This includes an ER, a home care lab, an EMS suite, an ambulance, two small group teaching simulation suites, a primary eight bed simulation lab, and a fully furnished LDRP suite; each equipped with a control room. Currently fourteen simulation suites are equipped with KB Port ETC recording systems that use cameras and a microphone to capture both video and sound and the simulator’s software. The recorders are managed from the control rooms and may be broadcasted to any classroom and debriefing room desired with appropriate AV equipment. Broadcasts may be live or from archives.
The Mary Smart Simulation Center is staffed with a full-time Education Director, a full-time simulation specialist, a full-time simulation technician, and numerous adjunct instructors. In coordination with the Director of Nursing, the Education Director of the Center schedules several full-time nursing faculty members to meet a part of their teaching requirement in the Center.
The primary mission of the Mary Smart Simulation Center is to support the nursing programs of the college. This curriculum support began in the fall of 2006, and was completed in 2008.