Nursing students find multiple ways to learn

Classes are just one part of the NDSU experience. There are multiple options including labs, community outreach and student organizations that offer many activities outside of class to help develop skills that apply to your future career.

One annual activity is a simulation focused on poverty. Students say it helps them gain insights to help them further develop soft skills, such as empathy. Students with a variety of career goals, including future health care professionals, participate.

The simulation is similar to a game and the course is usually held during fall semester. Over the course of an hour, students work in teams that represent families. Each student plays the role of a family member. Recent nursing graduate Hailey Ingle Brazier from Greenbush, Minnesota participated during her final semester. Her teammate’s role was to be a grandfather who was raising two grandchildren with his wife. He was unemployed because of a disability. Hailey’s role was to be one of the grandchildren. She played a school-aged child.

The teams are given scenarios, resources and tasks to accomplish in 15-minute increments that represent a week. Their goal is to complete the tasks, such as getting to work on time, buying groceries and paying bills, with the resources they have. Additional obstacles and unexpected situations are thrown into the mix.

As Hailey’s team played their roles and problem-solved to complete their tasks, they found themselves considering actions they normally wouldn’t consider appropriate, such as leaving children home alone. “Really, you could leave us home,” said a team member who played a child. “We just can’t get caught.” They could see how priorities might change when someone is struggling to meet basic needs.

The students learn from role-playing and taking on the challenge to succeed. But they take the lessons seriously, too, understanding the scenarios came from real people.

For Hailey, the simulation was a way to better understand patients. She had take-aways from the simulation about keeping an open mind, avoiding judgment and being as helpful as possible.

The simulation is just one activity NDSU offers at its nursing sites in Fargo and Bismarck to help students develop into mindful, skilled professionals.

Students also have an opportunity to participate in student organizations, as well as through a variety of nursing practicums in communities in the U.S. and Kenya, Belize and Haiti, learning through multicultural nursing experiences.


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