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Waveny Care Center Enlists Norwalk CC Simulation Center For Training

Norwalk Community College and Waveny Care Center partner to promote exceptional outcomes and reduce hospital readmissions.
Norwalk Community College and Waveny Care Center partner to promote exceptional outcomes and reduce hospital readmissions. Photo Credit: Contributed

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – To meet the needs of an increasingly acute patient population and reduce hospital readmissions, Waveny Care Cente -- Waveny LifeCare Network’s 5-star skilled nursing and short-term rehab facility – has partnered with the Simulation Center of the Norwalk Community College Division of Nursing and Allied Health, to provide hands-on simulation training for Waveny’s nurses, specifically those who care for the Center’s short-term rehab patients.

Called “WATCH,” an acronym for Waveny Care Center’s Assessment Training Collaboration for Healthcare Serving the Community, this unique training program was developed by Mary Di Paola, RN, Waveny’s Director of Nursing and Cathleen Caulfield, RN, MSN, MS, CHSE, NCC’s Simulation Center Coordinator, to enhance Waveny’s clinical team’s ability to proactively recognize, assess and respond to challenges posed by diagnoses like CHF, COPD, Pneumonia, Post Myocardial Infarction and Urinary Tract Infection.

“Today, the medical care needs of patients discharged from local hospitals to Waveny Care Center for inpatient care are vastly more acute than they were just a few years ago,” said Di Paola. “Many of the joint replacement cases who in years past would have come to the Care Center as short-term rehab patients are now going directly home with homecare services. It’s those patients who require greater care due to their complex co-morbidities who we now see in inpatient rehabilitation, using our interdisciplinary team to manage their recovery. That’s why it’s vitally important for our nursing team to be prepared to care for these patients with the highest quality of nursing, early identification, communication and interventions to reduce complications and the need for hospital readmission.”

The NCC Simulation Center, which launched in 2011, allows healthcare students and community professionals across disciplines to practice skills in medical procedures, using computerized SimMan and Noelle patient mannequins to portray patient situations.

The unit’s six hospital rooms were developed in sponsorship with Norwalk Hospital, Stamford Hospital and Greenwich Hospital. Simulation educators guide students through scenarios that replicate real-life situations that they would encounter as healthcare clinicians. NCC has 10 full-body simulation mannequins that mimic many human functions, including breathing, talking and coughing. The students diagnose health issues and perform therapies such as intravenous therapy and injections.

“As both a nurse and a nursing supervisor who oversees other clinicians, this experience reinforced my assessment skills, deepened my confidence and gave me a feeling of empowerment,” said Mariola Germaine, RN, Nursing Supervisor and one of Waveny’s participants in the hands-on training. “The training lab’s robot-mannequin provided us with a wonderfully interactive experience, where practice was allowed to make perfect. I believe this type of groundbreaking classroom training is taking our profession of nursing to new heights.”

Photo Caption: Left to right: Cathleen Caulfield, RN, MSN, MS CHSE; Simulation Center Coordinator; Crystal McLean, Student Simulation Coordinator; Mariola Germaine, RN Supervisor; Janet Awlasewicz, RN Charge Nurse; Kadian Hunter, RN Charge Nurse; Mary Di Paola, RN, CDP, Director of Nursing; Ava Dedic, LPN Charge Nurse; Gesta Bonnet, LPN Charge Nurse; Marie Paul, RN Supervisor.

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