LSU Nursing Awarded Grant for Disaster Simulation

Alison Davis, PhD, RN, CHSE, Assistant Professor of Nursing at LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing, has been awarded a $131,104 grant for simulation training to prepare nursing students for disaster response. The funding, from the Louisiana Board of Regents, will support the development of three disaster scenarios – natural, man-made, and mass casualty–and will utilize the school’s advanced human patient simulation technology to enact them.

 “We have threaded simulation throughout our undergraduate and graduate curriculum, but nothing currently that mimics a disaster scenario like the ones our students could potentially face while in the workforce,” notes Dr. Davis. As Director of the Nursing Skills and Technology Center, she is the lead simulation faculty at LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing.

Simulation provides a real-world experience of what the students can expect working as a nurse in a hospital, without the potential for injury or harm to patients or self. The scenarios will be used in the Adult Health Nursing (junior), Critical Care (senior) and Management (senior) courses to help students gain a greater knowledge of what it’s like to work during a disaster and how they can better respond.

 “In our world today, we are faced with several types of disasters and crises, from natural to man-made,” says Dr. Davis. “Tornados, chemical explosions, and mass shootings have become common occurrences, necessitating the planning of responses. We have to learn from the last one so that the impact won’t be as great the next time, and that is what the LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing has been funded to do.”

The Board of Regents Traditional Enhancement Fund provides an opportunity to compete for grants every year for all accredited two- and four-year institutions of higher learning in the State of Louisiana on a rotating discipline basis. Health and medical sciences were eligible to apply this year. The grant can pay for supplies, equipment, travel, and software to support programmatic projects.

“All employers want their employees to have the quality training needed to complete their work,” concludes Dr. Davis. “These scenarios will provide exposure to some of the most unpredictable situations and will hopefully boost the confidence of our students during these crises.”