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Newly Appointed Health Sciences Simulation Director Plans to Expand Education Opportunities for Communities

By Irvin B. Harrell

Love for his work drives Old Dominion University's Howard Goodwin, the School of Nursing's new director of technology & simulation. Ask about the length of his work week and he responds, "All the time," with a chuckle.

Goodwin plans to use that work ethic to elevate the school's plans for expansion into a Center for Simulation within the College of Health Sciences. His long-term goal is not only to educate students and prepare them for clinical practice, "but to be a part of their solution to long-term health care education and offer continuing education services throughout the community," he said.

A certified health care simulation educator, Goodwin received his Master of Science in Nursing in Nurse Anesthesia from ODU in 2008 and Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014. He left VCU to take a job at ODU as an adjunct faculty member teaching pathophysiology - the study of disease processes and how they affect normal physiology.

Goodwin, 47, lives in Carrollton, between north Suffolk and Smithfield, with his wife Martha and three sons, ages 13, 9 and 6. He fashions himself as a hometown boy, having grown up in Western Branch in Chesapeake, where he graduated from high school in 1989. As a certified registered nurse anesthetist, he joins the ranks of one of four advanced-practice registered nurse roles recognized in the United States.

After starting his career in business at HSBC Bank for 11 years, Goodwin decided to transition into health care, contemplating medical school or advanced-practice nursing.

Goodwin says he enjoys providing students with experiential learning in a high-fidelity simulation environment before they move to clinical practice.

"They can practice high-risk, low-occurrence situations," he said. "It's a safe environment to learn."

In his role as director of technology & simulation, Goodwin is excited about the future and has set his expansion plan in motion.

"We've reached out to all of the schools in the College of Health Sciences," he said. "I have a representative from each school to touch base with, and it's going to be an organic process. We're going to bring them in and show them what we do in nursing and introduce them to simulation concepts. From there, we'll explore developing scenarios for each discipline."

The School of Nursing provides roughly 10,000 experiential hours annually to students, Goodwin said. The interprofessional educational collaborations are a missed opportunity, but not for long, he added.

"For example, our nuclear medicine friends are interested in having their students come back with critical lab values and practice effective communications and handoffs," he said.

Unlike the University of Virginia or VCU, ODU isn't attached to a hospital. Expanding simulation here can be a game changer, Goodwin said.

Schools will begin introducing simulations to their programs in the fall. Goodwin anticipates having a business plan by the end of the year and hosting revenue-generating events to provide continuing education opportunities in the community. The revenue would go to purchase high-priced simulation equipment needed by students.

"We will start small, evaluate and make tweaks," he said. "I've hosted three events in the past year that we probably could have generated revenue from, but we didn't have the infrastructure in place to figure out billing and collection of those receivables."

Goodwin said he also will collaborate with some of the area's bigger hospital systems, such as Sentara, Bon Secours and Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters.

Besides his work at ODU, Goodwin is a staff nurse anesthetist at Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center in Norfolk, where he works one or two days a week. He also has two anesthesia businesses - one he independently owns and one he co-owns. They have contracts with several surgery centers throughout the community. If that's not enough, he serves as president of the Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

When asked about how he juggles being so immersed in nursing and the role of the nurse anesthetist, Goodwin beams.

He puts it simply: "My goal is to do whatever I can do to advance the profession."

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