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LVC/MCTC adds simulation models to nursing program

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The Licking Valley Campus of Maysville Community and Technical College is using simulation models for instruction for nursing.  
The Licking Valley Campus simulation models include an adult, a pediatric, an infant and a birthing simulator. The purchase of the simulation models was made possible by an educational grant from the Department of Labor.    
Deborah J. Williams, MSN, RN, nursing program coordinator, commented that simulation technology is currently being integrated into most nursing programs across the country.  
She went on to say that the simulation technology allows nursing instructors to bring the practical experience to the classroom.
Simulation models are used to create real life situations that allow students to experience situations that they would not have the opportunity to have in the real world.   
Williams noted that a significant part of the simulation experience is the opportunity for students to make errors in clinical decision making that serves as a valuable learning experience without having adverse patient outcomes.   
This hands-on learning environment allows the students to gain the experience and the confidence they need to treat patients in real life.   
Additionally, Williams said, the use of simulation technology allows the instructor to create patient care opportunities that a student might not always see in the clinical setting. Instructors can program scenario’s that reflect medical and nursing problems that students are learning in class.  In the real world, instructors cannot always guarantee that patients will be available that reflect what the nursing students are discussing in class.
Melanie Morris, BSN, RN assistant professor of nursing at LVC, serves as the lead instructor for the integration of simulation technology for the LVC Nursing Program.   
Morris said, the first semester of nursing school, the simulation models are used for basic patient assessment. Manikins are used to check the students off on basic clinical skills such as listening to lung and heart sounds.
During the second semester, the simulation experience is more complex in that instructors use patient scenarios featuring real life medical situations.  
For example, one scenario involves a star athlete who collapses at practice.
The scenario begins with the patient’s arrival in the ER and continues until the patient is discharged.  
The nursing instructors function as program facilitators who are able to change the patient’s vital signs depending upon the interventions by the student.  
For example, if the simulator temperature was 103 and the students intervened by using appropriate cooling measures and IV fluids then the facilitators would lower the manikin’s temperature to reflect the use of appropriate nursing care by the student.  
This enables the teachers to pull together pieces from labs, lectures and clinical areas that we would never have been able to expose the students to in such a real patient care environment, Morris said.
Alison Hendricks, BSN, RN associate professor of nursing, commented, “Our students gain tremendous experience at their clinical sites.  LVC nursing students currently use clinical sites at Bourbon Community Hospital, Harrison Memorial Hospital, Nicholas County Hospital, Georgetown Community Hospital, Shady Lawn Personal Care Home, Grand Haven Nursing Home, and Cedar Ridge Health Care Campus. Our nursing program is so grateful to have such support from these local facilities where our students gain the experiences they need.”  
Hendricks went on to say that real life clinical experience is a cornerstone of nursing education but the use of simulation technology adds another dimension to their educational experience.  
The newest member of the LVC nursing instruction team, Michelle Caudill, BSN, RN, said that she really enjoyed helping with the instructional simulations this semester.  
Caudill, who is a recent graduate of NKU B.S.N. program, has been a nurse for many years and said that she would have loved to have access to this type of learning opportunity during her own student days.  
Additionally, Caudill said that staff on the LVC campus also worked to make the simulation experience as life like as possible.  
Larry Lemons, maintenance operations, at the LVC campus and Belinda Honican, administrative assistant for the nursing program played characters in the simulations that helped to create a realistic experience for the students and provided the students with the opportunity to practice communication and family interaction skills.  
For more information about the nursing program, contact Williams at 859-234-8626 extension 66437 or email her at deborah.williams@kctcs.edu.