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Co-ops Take Second at Research Day

May 26, 2016

Toni Wagenhoffer, Lauren Rials and Rachel McLaughlin, three senior Bachelor of Science in Nursing Co-op students currently working at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), were all part of the group that was awarded second place at this year’s CHOP Research Day for their presentation on improving orientation for unlicensed assistive personnel through simulation.

“We were really excited to present our work at Research Day. Finding out that we had won second place was very surreal, and none of us expected it at all,” said Rials. “We hope that other floors can use our research and adapt our simulations to fit the needs of their unit, and that by doing this that new Co-ops and techs can have more confidence starting out by being familiar with their duties.”

Months of their hard work on their project can be dated back to a Nurse Mentoring Institute conference in November, which Wagenhoffer and Rials both attended. There, they spoke with various representatives from local hospitals about their use of simulation in various units’ orientations. “We were speaking with some representatives when we realized that it would be really beneficial if we could utilize simulation in our own hospital,” said Wagenhoffer. “We have a lot of people who come into CHOP who are very knowledgeable but some have never worked children, and without a lot of preparation that can be very overwhelming.”

After being inspired to make a change in their workplace, the group took their ideas to Maura Nitka, MSN, assistant clinical professor in the Undergraduate Nursing Program, so they could get their project off the ground. “We came to her with the idea and she was on board right away,” said McLaughlin. “We needed a lot of help with the logistics of the project or we wouldn’t have been able to make the idea come to life. She coordinated with the leadership staff at CHOP on how to get the simulation done, and helped us figure out what supplies we would need, and what was feasible and not feasible.”

After gaining stakeholder approval, surveying staff, developing education and implementing that education, they drafted a poster to present their research to their colleagues at CHOP for Research Day. The project has proven successful, as the group is already receiving requests from other units about incorporating simulation into their orientations. “We were all very excited about getting second place. I think that it means there is huge potential and interest in utilizing simulation to increase the comfort level of ancillary staff to provide safe patient care,” said Wagenhoffer. 

“It is something that I would definitely want to do in the future.” said McLaughlin. “I think that going to Drexel gave me a really good chance to be exposed to simulation education, and I think it’s something that I’ll try to continue in the workplace.”

By Jacob Cushing ‘19