Misericordia opens new College of Health Sciences building|
The renovated three-story, 40,000-square-foot building on Lake Street is a $5.6 million investment in the health sciences by Misericordia. The historic structure houses the nursing, speech-language pathology (SLP), occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) departments. It allows the university to meet the additional demand for the free or low-cost clinics Misericordia has been providing to the greater community in PT and SLP, while also expanding learning and collaboration opportunities in the health sciences for students.
“The investment in the College of Health Sciences by Misericordia re-affirms the university’s commitment to rigorous academics, strong career preparation and people in the greater community,’’ said Jean A. Dyer, Ph.D., dean of the CHS. “The new academic building offers a blend of academic and clinical experiences for our students and low-cost health clinics for regional residents in need. These are the types of opportunities that define the Misericordia way.’’
More health care professionals graduate from Misericordia University than any other college or university in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The increased opportunities in the College of Health Sciences will allow the institution to increase the number of graduates by 55 percent in five years. These new and superbly educated graduates will help to reduce the shortage of health care professionals and make health care in Pennsylvania more accessible and affordable.
Misericordia University is regionally acclaimed and nationally recognized for the health sciences and the services it provides. More than 1,500 people — 1,285 children and 251 adults — have been treated at the Misericordia Speech-Language and Hearing Center since 2003, while additional people have been receiving clinical therapies at the Misericordia University Physical Therapy Center since 2004.
The Misericordia University SLP department’s suite on the second floor expands clinical space and offers additional state-of-the-art technology that will benefit students and clients, alike through the video observation room, Sensory-Motor Gymnasium, Voice and Speech-Science Anatomy, Stuttering and Language, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), and Cognition and Brain Injury laboratories.
The state-of-the-art Sensory-Motor Gymnasium houses equipment for use with children diagnosed with autism, pervasive developmental disorder and other related sensory-motor disorders. The high-tech Speech-Science Anatomy Lab enables SLP students to learn instrumentation they can apply to their clinical practice, while the AAC Lab features more than $200,000 in equipment that non-verbal clients use to enhance communication. The Cognition and Brain Injury Lab has equipment to train students in assessing patients with traumatic brain injuries, as well as stroke patients and clients with swallowing disorders. In the Stuttering and Language Research Lab advanced video capture procedures are utilized to train students to evaluate and treat clients who have language disorders or who stutter.
The Misericordia University Nursing Department is Northeastern Pennsylvania’s oldest nursing program. The department’s third floor suite provides extensive hands-on learning opportunities in two SimMan learning laboratories, including a central SimMan control room. Nursing students will also benefit from the expansion of the nursing learning resource lab. The new facility features eight hospital beds, state-of-the-art bedside technology and surrounding curtains to create a hospital-like environment.
Misericordia’s state-of-the-art SimMan labs feature full-size universal simulators that offer the latest computer technology to allow students and faculty to simulate real-life patient scenarios, like defibrillation, ventilation, chest compressions and pulse checking.
“Simulation increases our ability to have students respond to acute medical emergencies that patients may be experiencing at the bedside,’’ Dr. Mailloux added. “All students can engage in these experiences verses the one student who may have had the patient on the clinical unit. This engages graduate and undergraduate students regularly in critical thinking scenarios and makes them more prepared for professional practice.’’
The new building enables the Misericordia University Physical Therapy Center to provide more comprehensive services, like strengthening and conditioning to clients during the academic year. The first-floor clinic provides free clinical evaluations and treatment to people without health insurance who have physical therapy needs, like cardiovascular pulmonary and neurological disorders.
The third-floor facility features more than 2,300-square feet for separate neurologic and orthopedic labs with audio-video and treatment tables. The lab space and technology enable students to practice manual and mobility skills in the separate “neuro’’ and “ortho’’ labs.
“We hope to be able to expand student opportunities to provide physical therapy services to individuals from the community before the students participate in formal clinical education experiences,’’ said Susan Barker, P.T., Ph.D., professor and chair of the physical therapy department. “The added hands-on experience prepares a more well-rounded and competent clinician.’’
The Misericordia University Occupational Therapy Department offers simulation laboratories so students can apply their classroom lessons in a clinical setting, while also gaining important hands-on experience. The department’s two labs are equipped for 30 students each and include an Activities of Daily Living or ADL area, a splinting and hand therapy lab, and specialized low-vision, driver testing training and work capacity training work stations. Each lab has an audiovisual projection system and floor boxes, which provide ample electricity for students to use heat guns and heating pans to learn how to fabricate splints.
In many instances, the labs imitate real-life scenarios that licensed professional occupational therapists experience day-to-day. For example, the ADL lab features a kitchen, dining area, living room, bedroom and training bathroom for students to hone their skills. Student clinicians also become familiar with and master the use of assistive devices that are used to help impaired individuals master necessary tasks of daily living.
The state-of-the-art work stations house an array of modern equipment, including a glare recovery testing unit, low-vision and magnification aids, and functional capacity testing tools. Misericordia’s OT labs are also mobile and allow for instruction in sensory integration therapy and movement activities such as yoga and Tai Chi, and include ceiling-suspension equipment so students can master the intricacies of this type of therapy.
For more information about the majors in the College of Health Sciences, please call (570) 674-6400 or log on to www.misericordia.edu.
Caption: Nursing student Marc Ingoglia, a junior, holds SimBaby in one of the Misericordia University Nursing Department simulation laboratores in the new College of Health Sciences building in Dallas.