Penn State Scranton, Geisinger collaborate for interprofessional education event

professional and student nurses gather around a patient simulator in the campus' patient simulator lab.

Using the patient simulator lab at Penn State Scranton during an interprofessional education event, professional nurses from Geisinger Community Medical Center worked through a variety of real-world emergency medical situations to help Penn State Scranton nursing students gain valuable real-world experience.

Credit: Morgan Sewack

DUNMORE, Pa. — The Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing at Penn State Scranton hosted an interprofessional education event (IPE) in collaboration with Geisinger Community Medical Center this past October, bringing real-world health care experiences to the campus and enhancing the education of nursing students. The goal was to provide the student nurses with valuable hands-on experience and expert guidance to prepare them for real-world situations.

The event was the result of an effort by campus Chancellor Marwan Wafa, Penn State Scranton's nursing department and Geisinger to explore potential collaborative opportunities which would help bridge the gap between classroom learning and practical healthcare situations for nursing students.

During the IPE, Geisinger nurses and Penn State Scranton's nursing faculty guided students through various medical scenarios that they could encounter in their future careers. Various stages of a medical crisis situation were included, starting with an overview of objectives and a brief video highlighting effective team communication in emergency health care situations, followed by hands-on simulations, a skills station where students reviewed the use of a crash cart and defibrillator, and finally, a comprehensive debriefing.

Assistant Teaching Professor and Program Coordinator of Nursing Justina Malinak, played a crucial role in coordinating this significant event.

“The event was unique as it paired third-year and fourth-year students participating in a simulation experience with Geisinger ER nurses,” she said. “The simulation opportunity afforded students the ability to critically think through emergency scenarios, implement nursing interventions, and debrief with expertise from nursing faculty and ER staff alike.”

Geisinger nurses benefitted from the opportunity to interact with nursing students in a simulation experience and provided valuable feedback. Northeast Region (Geisinger Community Medical Center) Nursing Program Director Andy Capalong, who coordinated the Geisinger team, along with other emergency room nurses from Geisinger, all contributed their expertise and time to make the event a success.

The IPE event held at Penn State Scranton was a phenomenal opportunity to provide over 20 nursing students with the training they will need for future success. It helped to bridge the gap from theory into practice. The students learned the importance of team dynamics, good communication, critical thinking and assessment skills. Students were faced with treating medical emergencies such as MI, seizures and airway issues. This hands-on experience provided students with the ability to learn from Geisinger nurses and apply what they have learned in the classroom. These students are the future of health care within our community, and we want to support both their professional and educational development.

—Andy Capalong , director, Northeast Region Geisinger Community Medical Center Nursing Program

One nurse from Geisinger had a message for aspiring nursing professionals, emphasizing the significance of practice and teamwork, “Take every opportunity you can to attend open lab and practice skills.”

Malinak said she looks forward to holding future IPE events for areas such as obstetrics, mental health and additional adult acute care simulations.

“During emergency situations at the hospital, we must work as a team. We work on one mission together - to render care to patients and families undergoing illness, injury, and difficult times in their lives,” Malinak said.

The IPE event at Penn State Scranton not only enhanced the education of nursing students but also exemplified the value of collaboration between academic institutions and healthcare providers, according to organizers. They said it marked a significant step toward preparing the next generation of health care professionals for the challenges they will face in their careers.