By Jessica Tanner
Since 2014, students have benefited from the Mary Jane Rawlinson Geertsen Nursing Learning Center thanks to the Fritz B. Burns Foundation. Students spend weeks practicing isolated skills (such as inserting an IV or taking blood pressure) and then bring their knowledge together to practice a simulated encounter with a patient. Advanced technology makes facilities like the NLC possible. But living in such a high-speed, ever-changing environment reveals an important truth: technology has a short lifespan. Over the summer of 2018, the NLC was given new cameras, microphones, and accompanying software that promotes higher levels of experience and feedback.
“A leading University simulation center in Provo, Utah just underwent a massive upgrade of their healthcare simulation facilities, thanks to Level 3 Healthcare,” writes healthysimulation.com. Level 3 Healthcare implemented SIMStation software to update visual and audio technology as well as some of the manikins. (Two new manikins were added during the upgrade.) These updates “[allow] for the seamless integration between patient exam rooms and simulation training rooms.”
Teachers can now have more control over student experience in the simulation labs. Updates include, “a state-of-the-art facility complete with high-definition PTZ [pan-tilt-zoom] cameras, wireless microphones, full tablet connectivity, [manikin] control, vital sign capture, and voice modulation devices.” Faculty can speak through a microphone that disguises their voice to help students learn patient interaction. “Students learn to speak to a patient, teach them why they are doing what they are doing, and teachers can talk back,” explains NLC supervisor Kristen Whipple.
Though students are given a report of the “previous shift” for the patient and can access patient history through electronic records, teachers can ensure that students encounter the unexpected. The control of manikin response pushes nursing students to think on their feet.
Whipple recalls when a camera was simply draped on its cord over a divider in the lab. Now, student encounters are filmed with the updated video capture and sent to one of four debriefing rooms, where other students can observe. Because of this, students can learn from one another and receive feedback from their professors.
The NLC focuses on providing life-like experience, and to do that the facility needs the latest technology. Thanks to the recent renovations, students can get the experience they need.