Simulation program at SDSU gets provisional accreditation

Courtesy photo: Leann Horsley

BROOKINGS – South Dakota State University’s College of Nursing has been granted provisional accreditation for its simulation program. The Society for Simulation in Healthcare will formally recognize the college Jan. 26, 2019, in San Antonio.

The society currently has accredited 126 entities in 15 nations. South Dakota State is one of the first land-grant universities to earn this achievement.

SSH accreditation is a peer-reviewed, customized evaluation of a health-care simulation program. Accreditation examines the simulation program’s processes and outcomes in: assessment; research; teaching/education; and systems integration.

“This is a stamp of quality and excellence,” said Assistant Dean Leann Horsley, who led South Dakota State’s efforts toward accreditation. She said the college sought provisional accreditation and after two years of data have been obtained, the college will apply for full accreditation. 

Horsley, the college’s first-ever JoAnn and Eugene Goodale Nursing Faculty Scholar, has used a portion of the award’s funds to support other faculty members to become certified nurse educators and certified health-care simulation educators. The college currently has only two certified health-care simulation educators, Horsley and Associate Professor Paula Carson.

“While our primary focus is education for our nursing students, we want to create a learning environment using simulation that other disciplines can use,” Horsley said.

“We’re using the INACSL (International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning) standards of best practices for simulation as the foundation for everything we do,” she continued. “We have increased our professional development in the area of simulation to include an orientation and continuing education for faculty who teach in simulation.”

The college plans to have a standardized patient program in place within the next year. It hopes to have in place a simulation director by then, too,

“The accreditation and the standardized patient program will help us standardize and strengthen our education in simulation across all sites providing excellence in education,” Horsley said. 

“Simulation provides a safe learning environment that mimics reality; participants can make a mistake and learn from the mistake,” she continued. “Through deliberate practice, simulation helps students to gain confidence and become competent in their skills, develops their muscle memory and allows them to be able to perform a skill, think and talk at the same time.”

The college’s provisional accreditation for simulation was granted until 2023.

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