Technological Advances Enhance Student Learning Environment
The Learning/Simulation Center (LSC) has become a major setting where a wide variety of simulated clinical experiences can be accessed without risk to actual patients.
The 3,500 square foot, state-of-the-art "Sim Lab" allows students to put into practice what they learn in the classroom. Instructors, who have successfully met the School's required simulation competencies, are available to supervise, tutor, test and provide support to students as they progress through the nursing program. The Sim Lab features:
> Main Center with 12 patient units
> Annex with four patient units.
> Eight high-fidelity, computer-operated Human Patient Simulators (HPS) that have heartbeats, can breathe, talk, sweat, and can simulate a wide range of medical conditions and biological responses to treatment.
> 10 medium-fidelity HPS with features like the high-fidelity HPS except their chests don't move with their breathing since they are not connected to a compressor. They can also simulate a wide variety of medical conditions.
> Two birthing simulators called "Noelle" and "SimMom" can simulate the birth of a baby and the complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
> Part-task trainers which are smaller simulation equipment that mimic parts of the human body used to practice procedures such as intravenous therapy, urinary catheterization and colostomy care.
> A digital audio-visual system that transmits and records scenarios in simulated environments to facilitate learning.
> Control rooms for the simulation area where the instructor and simulation technician remotely operate the HPS.
> Debriefing rooms where instructors and learners can review the video recording of the simulated scenario and engage in a reflective discussion of what occurred during simulation. These rooms have debriefing session audio-visual recording devices that...
> Our students have learned to expect simulation as part of their learning experience while at Trinitas. They have consistently rated their simulation experience very highly because it challenges their ability to critically think on their feet and allows them to learn from their mistakes in a safe environment.
> Simulation is a teaching/learning tool which mimics actual situations in clinical practice as closely as possible to teach content, assess progress, develop clinical reasoning skills and learn or practice psychomotor and communication skills. It integrates best educational practices including active learning, collaboration, diverse learning styles and high-learner expectations.
At Trinitas School of Nursing, simulation-based learning has been a part of faculty's teaching strategies since 2005, when the School acquired its first high-fidelity human patient simulator from Laerdal Medical Corporation. Over the years, our population of high- and medium-fidelity HPS has steadily grown. Our simulation-based nursing skills evaluation uses the latest technology, including computer tablets for data collection, and portable medication carts.
Simulation Technology allows instructors to create both common and uncommon high-risk clinical situations that students may not experience while they are in the clinical setting. Many of these situations are ones that they may be called upon to manage and deal with when they become licensed RNs.
For example, instructors can create scenarios where a patient will have a heart attack or a stroke; respiratory distress, diabetic coma, bleeding, traumatic brain injury, drug overdose and so on. They can also create scenarios that deal with errors that can occur as a result of miscommunication between and among the healthcare providers. The best part of all these is that we can allow the natural consequences of these mistakes without harming any patient.
One of the situations that students are afraid of is a code – the medical term that is used for a cardiac arrest. While in the hospital, students very rarely participate or allowed to participate in a code. In the simulation lab, they can play the role of RNs providing resuscitative measures to the patient simulator and evaluate their performance during debriefing.
Debriefing after a simulation allows students and instructors to discuss what occurred, both positive and negative. Therefore, everyone learns from their mistakes without harming the patient. Simulation, therefore, prepares students for the realities of patient care in a safe learning environment.