College of Nursing Shows Off New Simulation Lab
By Jennifer Willis
The College of Nursing opened the doors to its new simulation lab Thursday, providing tours of the state-of-the-art facility and an opportunity to speak with instructors on how it will be used.“We try to make the experience as real as possible,” says Sheila Searles, lab director for the college. “We can dress the mannequins to be male or female and use Halloween makeup to create different types of trauma as needed. When a student walks in, they have to be able to look at it as a real patient with a real need.”
The experience is much more than cosmetics. The pride and joy of the lab is the SimMan3G, a simulation mannequin that blinks, moans, cries and breathes — complete with the rising and falling of the chest. Students can check for a heartbeat, see the reaction of the eyes when light is shined and give him oxygen.
He’s hooked up to real-life monitors, to add to the lifelike training.
“People originally don’t think a mannequin can be very realistic,” says Jocelyn Nelms, complex-care instructor. “But once they come in here and they start reacting to the symptoms and get involved in the mannequin’s reactions, they realize how helpful it really is.”
In addition to the SimMan3G room, there also is an obstetrics room with a birthing mother and babies, a pediatrics room with a child mannequin, three exam rooms and a makeshift apartment for Home Healthcare and Hospice.
Home Health instructor Sherri Spicer was excited when she found out the school was putting in the apartment.“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the students,” Spicer says. “It will give them clinical hours by putting them in complex, real-world situations.”
The more detailed the simulation, the better.
“We will have live people with scripts acting out different scenarios,” Searles says. “Students will have to be able to recognize the signs of safety issues in the apartment, such as bugs and trip rugs. This will be where they will get to learn how to deal with body language and facial expressions. It will help build the gap between working with a mannequin who can’t show pain on his face and working with a real patient.”
There’s an excitement throughout the college for what can now be offered to students.
“We have the skills lab where students learn the skills that are needed, and now we can bring them here to the sim lab so they can apply those skills,” Searles says. “It’s really an exciting time for the College of Nursing. It’s fun to watch GCU grow.”
Reach Jennifer Willis at 639.7383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.