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USD Distance Nursing Program launches mobile simulation unit

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Through funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the University of South Dakota’s A.S.N. Distance Nursing Program has unveiled a mobile simulation unit (MSU) featuring cutting-edge technology. The MSU, which weighs approximately 25,000 lbs. and is 38-feet long, will be utilized for the first time on Wednesday, Jan. 25, in Waconia, Minn.

"Simulation provides nursing students a way to practice dealing with critical situations before dealing with real patients," stated faculty member Barbara Stolle, R.N., M.S. The MSU resembles mobile medical clinics or mobile diagnostic units, and will be used to provide students in the distance-learning program the opportunity to learn and practice nursing care skills and participate in patient care simulations.

In addition to containing all of the technology used in a smart classroom and state-of-the-art equipment found in any modern simulation unit, including mannequins that talk, cough, produce heartbeats and breathe, the MSU also features video recording devices and a flat screen viewing monitor in a multi-purpose debriefing area resembling a waiting room. The recording and viewing equipment allows students an opportunity to view a live feed of the simulation or review recordings to examine their performance and enhance learning.

Besides serving students in primarily rural communities throughout the nine states where nursing students participate in clinical training through the USD A.S.N. Distance Nursing Program, usage of the MSU will be extended to partners of the distance nursing program: new graduate hires, incumbent staff RN cross-training, nurses pursuing competency validation and individuals involved in career advancement in high-risk nursing areas.

Built by LaBoit Inc. out of Columbus, Ohio, which specializes in customized mobile vehicles that serve the medical, law enforcement, veterinary and emergency command fields, the MSU is entirely funded by a portion of a $5 million grant from the Employment and Training Administrative/Department of Labor that was awarded to USD Nursing on March 1, 2010. Most of these grant funds will go toward recruitment efforts of unemployed veterans and military personnel with an interest in obtaining entry-level health care positions and completing the online USD A.S.N. Distance Nursing Program. Funds will also assist future nurse educators completing graduate degrees.

Photographs of the MSU are available for download at and


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News