Every SoN student spends hours on a real hospital floor before graduating. It is important for students to learn from experienced healthcare professionals and by interacting with real patients. Still, there are many situations which students are not likely to experience as nurses during their clinicals, for example, assisting with childbirth, or responding to a post-op hemorrhage. Many such events are rare, and with those that happen more often, letting inexperienced students have an active role in a real, high-stakes situation would put patients, students, and healthcare providers at risk.
And yet, by the time they graduate, students need to be prepared to deal with just such high-pressure and high-stakes situations.Imagine students going to a patient’s hospital room for a routine check after a surgery, and discovering that there is a serious problem. Students need to notice and recognize the symptoms, evaluate the possible causes, and take action. And it all needs to happen quickly.
The Shapiro Simulated Hospital Suite (above) uses state-of-the-art technology to let students experience high-pressure, high-stakes health emergencies in a safe setting, as often as necessary.
Five high-fidelity human patient simulators (above and below) can stand-in for patients at different stages of their lives, from birth, childhood, and young age, to adulthood and advanced age. Each simulator can play-back a scenario, advanced by a clinical simulation specialist from the control room behind a one-way-mirror. Over 80 such scenarios, developed by teams of nurses, physicians, and pharmacists, realistically play-out a progression of symptoms that students have to notice, recognize, and react to.
From a range of life-threatening birth complications, to shaken-baby syndrome, to post-op hemorrhage, to drug overdose, and cardiac arrest, students are placed in a role of active participants, in settings where every minute counts, clear communication is essential, and every decision has consequences.What students decide, say, and do, gets simultaneously recorded by three cameras placed at different angles in each hospital room, and a camera next to nurse’s station, so that no detail is missed.
Then, immediately after the simulation session is over, in a debriefing room next door, students spend as much, or more time, reviewing the video recording of the session, shown alongside a display of patients’ changing vital signs, and discussing with their instructor what went well, what did not, and what they learned from the experience.Simulation is no mere play: research shows that even highly trained teams of healthcare professionals experience a measurable level of stress, similar to one that occurs in real life situations. But there is also an important benefit – students whose education includes simulated, hands-on experiences score higher on tests, and do better in real-life situations than students whose learning remains at purely theoretical stage. Nursing includes many things you just can’t learn from a book…
In addition to four hospital rooms, two control rooms, and two debriefing rooms, our simulated hospital suite has a fully functional patient bathroom, a med room, and a nurse’s station (above), where students can access patients’ electronic health record before entering patient’s room.
While at the most acute stage of their illness patients often find themselves at the hospital, they spend most of the time in recovery at home, where they will need nursing care and support. Simulated Home Environment (above and below) recreates a fully-functional one-bedroom apartment where students can practice providing care in the setting in which most patients find themselves most of the time.
The area, like the hospital suite, is equipped with cameras and state-of-the-art video recording and debriefing system. Another area near by geared toward the future, is eHealth lab, that will let students become familiar with the quickly developing discipline of telemedicine.
As we walk through the Weikel Clinical Skills Labs area (above), we pass by several labs that let students develop and practice nursing skills, and arrive at a simulated, fully functional clinic area, with six examination rooms. This area lets students practice with the assistance of standardized patients, specially trained actors who enact different scenarios that simulate behaviors, and symptoms of real patients.
Photos on this page: George Jura (CC by-nc-nd)