There’s no time for on-the-job training in life-and-death situations. Emotions get in the way, adrenaline changes reaction time and the stakes are too high.
To prepare students for such circumstances, the Decker School of Nursing used a $500,000 gift from the Dr. G. Clifford and Florence B. Decker Foundation to build a state-of-the-art lab that simulates real-life patient-care situations like heart attacks and breech births. By using simulation mannequins, or “sim-men,” that are responsive and able to answer questions, students practice in dynamic environments with real diagnostic tools, working sinks and medication and crash carts.
“The simulation lab provides a great opportunity for students,” says Susan Russell, Innovative Practice Center coordinator. “Students get to come in and practice the material they are learning in their courses, whether they are working with newborns or the elderly — the mannequins can do it all.”
Two-way mirrors, high-definition pan-tilt cameras and hidden microphones enable the instructor to observe every action taken by the students. The simulations are recorded from a control room so that students can see their responses, see how the patient sees them.
“It was amazing what they picked up as far as their tonality of voice and how they presented themselves in a clinical situation and what they looked and sounded like,” says Clinical Assistant Professor Maureen Daws, MS ’95. “That was a real eye-opening moment for them.”
Decker students praise the Innovative Practice Center. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever heard of before, and the simulations are just one of the ways that the Decker School is proving its innovation,” says Decker student Sarah Dodd ’12.