Medical Professionals On a Mission, Inc. (MPOM), with support from Direct Relief, is committing to provide a new simulation lab on the Dominica State College (DSC) campus to replace the nursing skills lab that was destroyed by Hurricane Maria. Through this commitment, MPOM will renovate the lab and equip it with storage, library, and work spaces, providing a fully-equipped training facility for nursing students.
Dominica State College will provide a classroom for the lab. The College will refurbish the room, while MPOM will be responsible for renovating it to fit the needs for the lab and will equip it with storage, library, and work spaces.
MPOM will purchase and ship all necessary supplies: simulation and CPR mannequins, skills lab supplies, a projector with screen, four hospital beds, an eye wash faucet, and a hands-free sink for the lab. MPOM staff will assist in setting up the lab and training a lab coordinator. MPOM will also hold a book drive for medical and nursing books to be provided for the lab's library.
In order to provide the most up-to-date standard of education for the trainees, MPOM staff will source a lab curriculum from their practices in the US which will be used as a reference for nursing lab instructors.
The lab will also serve as a training site for nursing assistants, AED/CPR training for disaster relief, annual RN certifications, the fire and police department, and the new pharmacy assistant program at DSC. Ultimately, the lab will provide annual training to more than 300 nurses from Princess Margaret Hospital and primary health centers, as well as approximately 60 health science students from the College.
May through June 2019: Renovation of the lab; Installation of storage closets and cupboards; Shipping of equipment from New York to Dominica; Setup of room and equipment.
July 2019: Handover ceremony of space. Training of lab coordinator.
July 2019 - July 2020: First annual training round in new lab to be completed on an ongoing basis.
The skills laboratory has always been an integral part of nurses’ training in Dominica, but the lab on the Dominica State College campus was destroyed during Hurricane Maria. The lab was in a standalone building with a galvanized roof which was blown away, causing the building to be flooded. Windows, doors, and the roof were destroyed, along with two beds, basic mannequins, wound care supplies, reference books, linens, desks, and chairs.
However, the existence of a skills laboratory for training is critical to bridging the gap between theory and practice for nurses by immersing students in a realistic, dynamic, and complex setting. Simulation labs can foster the critical thinking, communication skills, and teamwork necessary to function successfully in a healthcare environment. Mannequins, for instance, give students the chance to practice a variety of interventions, and labs allow students to train to do health assessments and administer medication properly.
At the same time, Dominica is facing a critical need for more medical training opportunities; the country has seen a decrease in nursing and health science student recruitment, decreased passing rates for licensure exams, inadequate annual training in ALS/PALS/BLS certifications for seasoned nurses, and a lack of trained EMS personnel as well as water rescue trainings available for fire and emergency departments in Dominica.
MPOM is seeking financial resources for additional supplies for the skills lab and for potential expansions of the lab, such as equipping the space with a computer lab for virtual learning and practice skills test, as well as online nursing specialty care courses for international schools.
MPOM will be able to provide other organizations with information on health, disaster relief, and navigating the health sector in Dominica.