January 21, 2005

Nursing School debuts new informatics center

Featured Image

Nursing student Scott Lawrence, right, shows Thomas Frist Jr., M.D., Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs, Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., dean of VUSN, Patricia Champion Frist and others the computers and tools in the Frist Informatics Center at VUSN. The center is located on the second floor of Frist Hall.
photo by Daniel Dubois

Nursing School debuts new informatics center

The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing celebrated the grand opening of its new state-of-the-art Frist Nursing Informatics Center last week.

The facility was made possible by the financial support of some long-time friends of the School — Patricia Champion Frist and her husband, Thomas Frist Jr., M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., both of whom are graduates of Vanderbilt University. “I am honored to be associated with the nursing program here,” Patricia Champion Frist said.

Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Harry Jacobson, M.D., on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony, thanked the Frists for their contributions and congratulated Betsy Weiner, Ph.D., senior associate dean for Educational Informatics at VUSN, for her leadership in the field. “Vanderbilt is a leader in medical informatics and Dr. Weiner is the first person to have that title in a School of Nursing, and Colleen's role played a major role in her being here today,” said Jacobson. “Informatics reminds me of the phrase 'knowledge is power,' and informatics gives us the power to take care of our patients, helps us do our research, and allows us to provide the very best education for our students,” Jacobson added.

The new Informatics Center is home to an electronic classroom and testing lab, computer rooms, and classrooms housing some of the latest in instructional technology.

Several nursing students demonstrated a few of the new tools for the Frists during a tour of the facility. Students used the computer program CathSim, a virtual IV system, to show how they practice realistic catheterization techniques from newborns to elderly patients. Frist even sat down at the computer to try his hand at the program. Next stop on the tour of virtual programs had both Frists checking the lungs on the patient simulator SimMan.

“He's tachycardic,” Frist said. SimMan allows students to learn and practice airway placement, external defibrillation, IV placement with replaceable skin and veins, injections, and chest compressions. Students can check a pulse or blood pressure, listen to lung, heart, and bowel sounds, and the simulator can even cough, vomit, moan, and make other lifelike vocal sounds. Other aspects of the tour included a demonstration of online modules developed for nurses in emergency response and the clinical log, a web-based and PDA program for recording students' clinical encounters.

The new Nursing Informatics Center is located on the second floor of Patricia Champion Frist Hall. The building was a $2 million gift from the Frist family in 1998.