Transforming Medical Education through Philanthropy

New University of Kansas nursing students sat around a table with lifelike props in front of them, small flesh-colored pads that were made to resemble a human forearm and used to practice the steps of IV insertion. After repeatedly practicing and perfecting the steps using a prop, students move on to basic mannequins, incorporating other skills like situational awareness and sterile techniques. After mastering those skills, students then incorporate more context and a higher level of intensity when progressing to a high-fidelity mannequin that is controlled by a computer and can verbally communicate with the student. 

Donors at ZIEL Simulation Tour

Last week, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation donors toured the Zamierowski Institute for Experiential Learning (ZIEL) at the University of Kansas Medical Center’s new Health Education Building. Simulation-based learning and experiential education allows students to practice not only the physical steps and tasks necessary to provide care, but also other important skills like teamwork, communication and leadership. 

ZIEL is a partnership of the University of Kansas Medical Center and the University of Kansas Health System, so in order to provide the most effective learning experience, the ZIEL team works closely with the University of Kansas Hospital to mimic what patient rooms, operating rooms and labor and delivery suites look like using the exact same equipment found in the hospital across the street. In high-tech simulation rooms, mannequins and scenarios are directed by simulation technicians in a behind-the-scenes control room. 

Dr. David Zamierowski

Led by ZIEL staff, donors visited six different simulation scenarios and experienced hands-on learning the same way students do daily. After the extensive tour, donors gathered to hear Dr. David Zamierowski speak on the importance of experiential and simulation-based learning. He shared that when he was a chief resident, he was charged with the task of inserting a central line into a patient’s neck, never having practiced on a mannequin or prop because those resources simply weren’t available. Thanks to the generosity of Drs. David and Mary Zamierowski through their donor-advised fund, students can now practice the steps of central line insertion on a prop, a mannequin and use ultrasound technology when learning this skill through simulation-based education.

Students also complete a rigorous Code Blue training that allows nurses, the typical first responders, to work together with each other and the specialized Code Blue response team. Recently, at the University of Kansas Hospital, a Code Blue was called on a patient experiencing cardiac arrhythmia and the team of first responders who had completed the simulation-based Code Blue training were able to resuscitate the patient even before the specialized Code Blue team arrived. 

It’s life-saving successes like this that make it an easy decision for Drs. David and Mary Zamierowski to invest in simulation-based learning for current and future health care professionals across Kansas City, and here at the Community Foundation, we’re honored to play a small role in their good work.

See more photos from the event on our Facebook page. 

Community Foundation Content Specialist Ashley Hawkins


Authored by: Ashley Hawkins, Content Specialist