Simulations Teach Nursing Skills Safely
How well prepared are nursing students to meet new situations head-on with solid decision-making skills and a sharp eye for patient safety?
It’s a question that nursing educators constantly grapple with. Student nurses are exposed to a limited number of patients and do so under close supervision. So how do they gain hands-on experience?
The answer is through the use of simulation experiences that model the high-risk clinical environment.
“The value of simulations cannot be overstated,” says Dr. Polly Kloster, associate professor of nursing.
From manikins and role-playing to interactive media and standardized patients, simulations help students learn, tests their clinical skills, and develops good decision-making skills.
Concordia’s nursing simulation lab in Jones Science Center helps students develop their skills and transfer their clinical competencies from the classroom to the clinical setting.
“We are always searching for ways to better assure that nurses are well-prepared to juggle multiple competing demands requiring attention to detail,” says Kloster.
“We’ve found that simulations help students safely hone their skills and problem-solving so that, down the road, they can help save lives in virtually every service setting and patient population,” she says.
The use of simulation helps assess nursing students’ ability to manage complex, even ambiguous, patient safety decisions.
“Simulation helps students master crucial patient safety skills, which will help them better safeguard their patients’ health and lives,” says Kloster.
Concordia’s simulation lab is designed just like a hospital unit, with wall mounted oxygen and suction equipment, IV pumps and cardiac monitors.
Students are able to listen for virtual sounds on the manikins by checking their heartbeats, listening to their lungs and starting IVs. One of the manikins even goes through the labor process to deliver a ‘baby.’
"Walking through the steps of providing patient care in the mock clinical setting removes some of the students’ anxiety associated with the sights and sounds of unfamiliar equipment attached to a patient. This allows students to focus on what their vocation is truly about, which is caring for patients,” says Kloster.
“It has been amazing to observe students at work in this simulation environment,” adds Kloster. “They are being well-prepared and are much more confident in their ability to provide quality patient care.”