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High-tech healing

Students benefit from use of high fidelity lab that enhances Nursing education

Heather Hines, Reporter

TWU Nursing student Moriah Grossmann assesses a simulation mannequin in the pediatric unit of the high fidelity lab.
TWU Nursing student Moriah Grossmann assesses a simulation mannequin in the pediatric unit of the high fidelity lab.

Pre-nursing majors who are headed to TWU’s Dallas campus have wonderful facilities and equipment to look forward to. Since opening in 2011, the T. Boone Pickens Institute of Health Science’s high fidelity lab has been instrumental in improving the quality and value of nursing students’ education.   

The use of simulation mannequins, which range from adults and pregnant women to children and infants, all in varying conditions of health, allows students to practice skills and procedures, mastering them before administering care to a patient in a real hospital setting.

Nursing Lab Administrator and alumna of TWU Isabelle Sislak stated: “I think [students] are tremendously prepared for the hospital, but I can tell you from my own personal experience that I was much better prepared and very pleased with TWU.”

Sislak graduated in 2006 and remembers when Pickens offered to finance a new building. TWU’s prowess as a top university to earn a Bachelor’s of Science and Nursing degree has only grown since then. With the use of the high fidelity lab and simulation mannequins, students have even more resources and opportunities to successfully master nursing practices.

Sislak explained: “When I was taking clinicals at TWU, I never got to see a heart attack. I ended up being a cardiac ICU nurse, and I didn’t get to see an actual heart attack occurring until I was actually working as a nurse. Here we guarantee all our nurses will have seen and have hands on all types of issues, like a heart attack, before they get out to the work place. Simulation gives us that capability to ensure students experience certain things.”

Simulation also allows students to understand the mistakes they make. Nursing students enter the lab aware of their assignments for the day while their instructors monitor them from the control room by video camera. At midday, students take a break and they learn at a faculty-led station and view the video tape of themselves working on the simulation mannequin. Students watch themselves make mistakes on the video and are ready to come back in the afternoon and do their simulation again, with the knowledge of how to do it correctly.     

Sislak explains: “It is an opportunity to fail. Most people learn better if they failed at something and got the opportunity to learn why they failed and then show that they learned. So [students] all leave feeling so knowledgeable and so capable because they were successful before they left.”

The simulation mannequins’ sophisticated technology allows them to communicate with nursing students. They can receive injections and IVs and respond accordingly to the medication. Students can take their vital signs, as well as assess and care for these mannequins as if they were real patients in a hospital. The mannequins’ ability to respond to care makes the experience beneficial to students. The diversity of body types and medical problems ensures that nursing students will be well prepared for the work place.

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