CareFirst awards $25,000 grant to Stevenson University’s nursing program

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has awarded Stevenson University a $25,000 grant in support of a Community Health Simulation Program for its nursing program. The funds will be used to provide enhanced case management experiences for the University’s pre-licensure nursing students in the Community Health portion of their curriculum.

“Nurses play a pivotal role in meeting the comprehensive health care needs of today’s patients,” said Maria Harris Tildon, senior vice president of public policy and community affairs at CareFirst. “Health care providers can face any number of complex scenarios when treating a patient, and our contribution to Stevenson’s Community Health Simulation Program seeks to help prepare tomorrow’s nurses for the challenges they will face.”

With the aid of the CareFirst award, Stevenson will purchase nursing simulation software called Neighborhood that immerses students in a virtual clinical environment as part of their coursework. The Neighborhood software provides a platform for nursing instructors to build real-life scenarios involving families, health challenges, and economic and sociological issues that students will track throughout the semester.

For example, students might be asked to treat a 16-year-old girl who is pregnant and has no medical insurance. The story will progress throughout the semester-the baby might be born with a congenital abnormality, the father might secure a part-time job and be able to afford some level of insurance. Each day, students will be involved in listening and learning about this family, assessing their needs, providing support, and helping them find resources to enhance their overall health. Simulation mannequins will also be a part of this virtual “neighborhood” by serving as patients.

“The Community Health Simulation Program will enhance the practical knowledge and experience our students gain during their field placements,” said Dr. Denise Seigart, Associate Dean of Nursing Education at Stevenson. “The complexity of these virtual simulations will challenge their case management skills in ‘real life’ healthcare scenarios and help improve their ability to assess patients’ physiological, psychological, emotional, economic, and environmental well-being.”

In its 73rd year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health care company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to nearly 3.4 million individuals and groups in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Northern Virginia. Through its CareFirst Commitment initiative and other public mission activities, CareFirst supports efforts to increase the accessibility, affordability, safety, and quality of health care throughout its market areas.

Stevenson University is the third-largest independent university in Maryland with more than 3,400 students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s, and adult accelerated degrees in the classroom and online. The University is committed to providing a career-focused education and placed 95 percent of its December 2008/May 2009 graduates in jobs or graduate programs.

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