University of Alabama in Huntsville (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 117-126
ISBN: 978-84-09-27666-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2021.0038
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
This paper presents the integration of technologies into nursing education. The collaborative effort includes the College of Nursing (CoN) at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and the UAH Systems Management and Production Center (SMAP). The faculty at the CoN conducts needs assessments to identify education and training requirements. A team of CoN faculty and SMAP engineers then prioritize these requirements and establish improvement/development teams. The development teams consist of nurses to evaluate the models and to provide feedback and of undergraduate engineering students and their senior staff mentors from SMAP. The SMAP staff develops and creates the physical models using 3D printing, silicone molds and specialized molding mixtures and techniques. The collaboration has focused on developing teaching and training, or clinical, simulators. In addition, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has intensified this relationship, as 3D modeling shifted to supply personal protection equipment (PPE) to local health care providers. A secondary collaboration has been introducing students to clinical benchmarking through the UAH Center for Management and Economic Research. As a result of these successful collaborations the Model Exchange & Development of Nursing & Engineering Technology (MEDNET) has been established. MEDNET seeks to extend and expand the linkage between engineering and nursing to K-12 schools, technical schools and medical facilities in the region with the resources available from the CoN and SMAP. As an example, STL files of the 3D printed models, along with the specifications to fabricate models, are available on the MEDNET website. Ten 3D printed models have been developed and are currently in use by the CoN. The following training simulators are currently under development by SMAP: suture pads, gelatin wound molds and printed wound tattoos. Specification sheets have been written for these simulations that describe the use, fabrication procedures and parts list. The collaboration of CoN and SMAP has been a successful merging of two disciplines, nursing and engineering. The models and training devices created via this merger provide more affordable hands-on material for nursing students. With MEDNET the affordability of additional training materials is pushed down and shared with high school/tech school nursing programs, which improves the number and preparedness of future nursing undergraduates. There is a substantial benefit to the engineering students participating in MEDNET. Through interaction with nurses future engineers learn the communication process. Problems are presented, solutions developed, tests conducted, and many times repeatedly until an agreed upon model is found. This is the engineering process and too often future engineers are not familiar with this iterative procedure.

Included in this paper are:
1) descriptions of CoN, SMAP and MEDNET,
2) the collaborative process used in product improvement/development,
3) 3D printed models of training and teaching simulators,
4) training simulators under development with specification sheets,
5) family care practice benchmarking,
6) integrating the simulators into the nursing curriculum,
7) utilizing MEDNET as a pandemic response and
8) conclusions.
3D printing, nursing education, healthcare, simulation, collaboration, benchmarking.