Innovation at La Source

La Source, a long tradition of innovation

The first lay nursing school in the world, La Source has been at the vanguard of nursing ever since it was founded in Lausanne in 1859. For more than 160 years now, innovation has held a special place at La Source. The school has dedicated itself to developing and implementing innovative methods and practices aimed at improving the quality of nursing education and the quality of care delivered to patients.

A few milestones

  • 1861: creation of first home care model
  • 1929: first training programme for “visiting nurses” providing home care
  • 1971: first consultations for diabetes education
  • Early 1990s: first education programme intended for senior patients
  • 2013: first Swiss CAS (Certificate of Advanced Studies) in nurse clinical assessment

What do we mean by “innovation”?

Revolutionary breakthroughs are not what La Source is after. What it seeks, instead, is to apply in a novel way or to integrate solutions never before implemented in a given form in specific settings.

These innovative solutions more often than not involve existing means that often have been tested in other contexts but never exploited in nursing care or nursing education.

2014: a major turning point

2014 marked a major turning point for innovation in nursing education. La Source furthered its reputation as a pioneer by:

  • modelling and implementing a simulated hospital for training third-year BSN students;
  • creating a simulated pharmacy for risk-free training in medication preparation. The packaging is real, but the drugs are all perfectly safe placebos;
  • using serious games developed by Albasim (HEIG-VD) for nurse clinical assessment training;
  • developing, in conjunction with students and in partnership with UbiSim (a start-up associated with the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), a virtual-reality pedagogical tool for blood transfusion training; and
  • using auscultation and obesity simulators in the course of undergraduate and post-graduate education programmes (CAS in clinical assessment);
  • developing a virtual pre-operative visit prototype in partnership with Clinique de La Source and Pixolabs (Shanghai). The prototype was nominated as a finalist in the 2017 Challenge Debiopharm–Inartis;
  • launching several interprofessional courses (e.g., in practical clinical nutrition, emergency clinical assessment, risk management, management of people with hypertension) for medical and nursing students; and
  • conducting a full-scale disaster drill involving over 180 persons (nursing students, medical students, simulated patients, first-aid workers, health professionals, firefighters, and police officers) to validate an interprofessional module.

2017 brings new opportunities

In early 2017, all the conditions were in place to add a new chapter to this historical legacy. La Source created the Office of the Vice-Dean for Innovation, appointing Dominique Truchot-Cardot, MD and Full Professor UAS, at its head.

The Office of the Vice-Dean for Innovation is the fruit of La Source’s determination to give fresh impetus to innovation.

Then, in September 2018, La Source opened an extension at the Palais de Beaulieu and a space dedicated to innovation: the Source Innovation Lab (SILAB).

Mission of the Office of the Vice-Dean for Innovation

The Office of the Vice-Dean has a clear mission: to promote and support innovation projects in the areas of care education, professional practices, and research.

Innovation activities

The Office’s mission affords it a very broad spectrum of activity and highly promising development prospects.

A few examples

  • Foster the generation of innovative ideas by the School’s students, teachers, researchers, technicians, and administrative staff, as well by patients and their families and carers.
  • Support projects from conceptualisation to evaluation, in partnership with the Office of the Vice-Dean for Research, the Office of the Vice-Dean for Education, Pedagogical Advice and Support Committee, and the Department of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
  • Connect potential SILAB partners with project initiators, based on project maturity level.
  • Bring the SILAB space to life (donor and mentor recruitment and retention, start-up hosting, valorisation of space, relations with Dean’s Offices, Vice-Dean’s Offices (FY, BSN, postgraduate) and LABs, relations with clinical partners and School administration).

And this is just the beginning …


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