As a winner of the 2017 WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) Award, Healthcare Learning Innovations was provided the option to submit an article about our product. We jumped at the opportunity to tell our story. To share how Healthcare Learning Innovations came to be, and more importantly, what sparked the idea for Sentinel City®. How did we get from an expressed need in the industry, to a fully functioning simulated city for educational use? What trials and tribulations did we experience along the way and what did we learn from them? Read below for an excerpt from our story.

Motivated by Our Mission

The passion and creativity that runs deep within the Healthcare Learning Innovations team existed long before the organization was born. A subset of our current team started out as members of American Sentinel University (our parent organization) which is an online nursing school focused solely on healthcare education.

Dr. Richard Oliver, American Sentinel’s CEO, encourages adoption of new technologies. These technologies help to create 21st century digital educational tools and solutions that enable a superior experience, convenience, and engagement for nursing students and educators. Inspired by this, Trevor Rasmusson, the Learning Innovation Manager at Healthcare Learning Innovations, worked with Dr. John Bourne, the University’s Chief Innovation Officer, to create a digital simulation for nursing students that would solve common issues surrounding the basic windshield survey assignment. As a result, the idea of Sentinel City® was born, and development was soon underway.

What is a Windshield Survey and What are the Problems Facing Students?

What is a windshield survey, you ask? It’s an assignment within a community health or public health nursing course where a student explores the community to determine how social, environmental, and cultural aspects correlate with available data on the population’s health. For nursing students, it is a challenge to find time to complete the survey between work hours and the demands of life outside of work.

Another concern is safety, as students move about the community actively making observations and taking notes. We found that a simulated windshield survey provided convenience and a safer experience for students, while creating a consistent base evaluation for faculty. This saved time for both students and faculty – a win for everyone!

Nurse Educator Conference Showcased Positive Response

Full of excitement, American Sentinel faculty presented our findings and an early version of Sentinel City® at nurse educator conference. The response was remarkable! We received multiple requests for trials and implementation from educators, administrators, and institutions over the following year. However, Sentinel City® wasn’t fully built or ready to share with other schools.

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