As the UC College of Nursing’s new chief officer of innovation and entrepreneurship, Debi Sampsel’s job is to team the college’s faculty and student learners, at the Uptown and UC East campuses, with technological advances that will ensure workforce readiness in a modern health care environment.
"We have to look at the transformation of health care, where we are currently and where we need to be, because technology is going to continue to be used as a bridge between the provider and patient,” says Sampsel, a registered nurse with a master’s in nursing from the Medical College of Ohio. She came to UC from the Nursing Institute of West Central Ohio, headquartered at Wright State University, where she was the executive director for seven years and later the commercialization manager.
It was in that capacity that Sampsel made a name for herself in the health care field as an academic "techie” of sorts. Not only was she the principal investigator on the first faculty/student research study using a remote presence robot in a human patient simulation setting, but she also designed and implemented the Living Laboratory Smart Technology House: a high-tech, two-story house that models an intergenerational home environment, where students and health care professionals learn to care for patients in their own homes rather than in a hospital or nursing home setting.
Sampsel’s prior research experience also included a decade of studying and implementing telemedicine models, but she is quick to point out that she doesn’t "invent” anything, but rather she takes existing technology and applies it to the learning environment to enhance student learning, extend the reach of health care professionals and transform health care workflow for the future.
Sampsel, educated first as an anthropologist with gerontology and sociology training, finds it imperative that teams of experts be brought together to address the individuals’ needs and those of their caregivers. For example, she’s ramping up the college’s academic relationships and is working with the College of Engineering and Applied Science to re-engineer nursing’s simulation laboratory. Very soon, UC’s College of Nursing will be incorporating telehealth into the academic setting and care-delivery community outreach program. A robot and other telehealth equipment are anticipated to arrive in early 2013.
There’s also the college’s iPad Institute, which Sampsel and Chris Edwards, assistant dean of the college’s Center for Academic Technologies and Educational Resources (CATER), plan to expand as part of the new "Innovation Collaboratory” that will be opening on the third floor of the Procter Hall. Sampsel says this will be beneficial in the "re-deployment” of technology to give students, faculty and licensed professionals a variety of hands-on learning experiences in order to flourish in the classroom and clinical settings and in leadership roles.
"My mission is to create educational experiences that engage students’ learning style preferences,” says Sampsel. "Some students learn by reading, some are hands-on and some prefer a combination of learning experiences such as tactile, auditory and/or visual. We want to create an environment that offers choices and promotes student-centered learning so that they feel engaged and supported in their program of study.
"Students today are accustomed to using technology to seek out information, but we need to prepare them to be confident in the use of technology in the health care settings as well.”
Sampsel further states that the "goal for the innovation platform” over the next six months will be to redeploy current skills lab resources while acquiring and launching new technologies. She says that this will help to optimize undergraduate and graduate students’ technological savvy and increase their interactive clinical preparations and knowledge about how health care is evolving; and "ultimately lead to self-directed models of care delivery that focus on care in residential settings and community-based service delivery.”
At the core of this transformation, she says, will be an emphasis on how nurses play an important role in utilizing technology to reach underserved populations and disenfranchised individuals in society. Nurses have vital contributions to make in the emerging health care delivery models. The UC College of Nursing wants to be at the forefront of future transformation as noted in their updated mission, vision, and core values statements.
"We are very excited about what the future developments will entail here at UC College of Nursing,” says Sampsel.