NDSU’s state-of-the-art Nursing Simulation Lab provides students in healthcare fields with the type of patient experiences they’ll encounter in their real-world clinical settings.
Gail Gores, a lecturer and simulation educator at NDSU, said the Sim Lab allows students to work through several scenarios in a controlled and safe setting on campus.
“It’s just a really safe place for them to make decisions and practice their knowledge and likely gain some more,” Gores said.
In the lab, lifelike patient simulators are connected to a computer to portray a live person, helping students have a direct approach to what it’s like to work with a patient. The wide array of simulations students can work through include a general home health visit, a mental health simulation, pediatrics and a birthing simulation. There are also emergency simulations that involve patients having a stroke and a code blue scenario.
While manikins are used for some simulations, Gores said other simulations use real people who serve as “actors” to help students communicate with their patient.
Nursing students Dominick Wendler, from Litchfield, Minnesota, and Hope Gullings, from Moorhead, Minnesota, said the Sim Lab has been helpful in preparing them for their jobs after college.
“Essentially, we’re more prepared, we’re more comfortable with the environment that we’ll be working in,” Wendler said.
Each simulation scenario is recorded and students receive a de-briefing afterwards to get feedback.
In addition to the Sim Lab helping students build confidence, students also are able to work in an interprofessional setting. Many of the simulations have nursing and pharmacy students working together as a team.
“I feel like it really builds comradery between you and your classmates, you and the faculty,” Gullings said. “It’s an opportunity for you to work together in roles that you normally don’t get to step into. There’s a lot of positive feedback and there’s a lot of rallying around each other while we’re learning in a hands-on environment.”
Among Gullings’ favorite simulations in the Sim Lab was a trauma incident involving a simulated infant that had a non-accidental brain injury. Gullings said the scenario was stunning for her and other students.
“It was very eye-opening to both the good and the bad that you’re going to see in the health care world,” she said.
That particular simulation allows students to care for a patient while also experiencing working with the family of a patient.
All the simulations lead up to experiencing the code blue scenario, which Gullings said is the most hands-on and exhilarating.
Gullings said students who decide to enroll in the NDSU nursing program won’t regret their decision.
“The experience, the memories and the time you spend here will influence you for a lifetime,” she said.