UPIKE enhances clinical education with simulators
PIKEVILLE — To enhance the clinical training experience for students in the University of Pikeville-Elliott School of Nursing, the university recently renovated a floor of the Community Technical Center for nursing skills training and patient care simulation and has invested in five high-fidelity simulators that replicate realistic experiences and medical scenarios students will encounter in their health care careers.
Funding for the purchase of the equipment was made possible by a $2.7 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). The EDA creates conditions for economic growth and improved quality of life.
The high-fidelity simulators, which include SimNewB, SimMom, SimMan 3G Trauma, SimMan 3G and SimJunior, are top-of-the-line equipment offered by Laerdal Medical Corporation. In addition, six mid-fidelity Nursing Anne simulators were purchased.
Nursing faculty recently began incorporating the new patient simulators into their curriculum. The fundamental benefit of utilizing patient simulators in nursing education is providing the opportunity to practice clinical skills. New nursing graduates are expected to care for a sicker patient population in a constantly changing high-technology environment. Simulation-based training supplements clinical experience by allowing faculty to integrate cognitive learning with hands-on skills at no risk to patients.
“Students enjoy the opportunity to practice patient assessment and interventions that they learn about in the classroom,” said Karen Damron, Ph.D., dean of the Elliott School of Nursing. “Simulation allows students to experience and react to critical situations that don’t commonly occur when they are in clinical areas with actual patients. This better prepares them for a time when quick reaction and appropriate interventions are needed by a patient.”
Standardized medical scenarios developed by expert authors, used in conjunction with simulators, allow faculty to provide consistent educational experiences for students. Situations that can be simulated are multi-faceted. For example, a simulator can be programmed to replicate an allergic reaction, a heart attack or a diabetic complication such as severe hypoglycemia. These scenarios provide students with content mapped to clinical guidelines from such experts as the American Heart Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and National League for Nursing, to name a few.
This spring, faculty in the maternity nursing course are planning to implement several standardized scenarios.
“Traditionally, labor and delivery clinicals are observation only,” said Damron. “The SimMom simulator allows for hands-on experience performing interventions that students usually only get to observe labor and delivery nurses doing. With SimMom, we now can simulate multiple emergent situations, such as a prolapsed umbilical cord or shoulder dystocia, which put the mother and baby at risk.”
In addition to providing opportunities for skills practice, simulators can measure students’ progression throughout their education. The technology provides reports on students’ development that can be reviewed between students and faculty. Students can be filmed during simulation scenarios and then debriefed by nursing faculty.
“It is during this debriefing that the real learning occurs,” said Damron.
The addition of state-of-the-art simulators not only expands opportunities for nursing students but also allows for increased collaboration between nursing and medical students on campus. Nursing faculty will partner with faculty at the university’s Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) to facilitate teamwork and communication in a variety of clinical settings.
“Simulation allows us to reinforce clinical knowledge, improve team communication and teach decision-making skills in a safe environment that doesn’t compromise patient safety,” said Danny Driskill, J.D., NRP, FP-C, director of simulation and instructor of family medicine at KYCOM.
Additional skills/simulation equipment purchased with the EDA grant include an Omnicell medication dispensing system with two mobile computerized medication carts, GE Panda Infant Warmer, GE Giraffe Infant Warmer and GE Giraffe Omnibed Incubator, as well as IV pumps, vital sign monitors and patient beds. EDA funds also allowed for purchase of student desks in the skills/simulation lab as well as furnishings and technology for a testing lab where nursing students will become accustomed to taking their exams on computers as they prepare for their computerized national licensing exam.
— Submitted for publication by UPIKE