Authentic Lab Provides Nursing Students with Realistic Hospital Experience

Simulation is often used in nursing programs to give students an idea of what actual patient interactions are like in a hospital.

It can come in various forms such as human-patient simulations, the use of manikins, virtual simulations, or role playing. Western Carolina University School of Nursing assistant professor David Wells has taken simulation to another level.

On the third floor of the Health and Human Sciences Building, Wells has created a simulation lab, known as Simulamen Laboratorii Regional Hospital. It is a room designed to resemble that of an actual hospital room in every way.

The lab was created by Wells last fall. It allows students a chance to emulate the experience of providing care in an acute setting. It provides complete integrated interaction where students participate as both nurse and patient. The room consists of patient barcodes that sync information with a computer system, as well as bedside monitors and IV lines.

“If it wouldn’t be in an actual hospital, I don’t want to use it,” Wells said.

Video recordings are taken of students working in the simulation lab. Wells said the recordings should look as if the students were actually being recorded in a hospital.

Second semester students use the lab for basic scenarios, while third semester students use more advanced, process-based situations. WCU also offers interdisciplinary education to physical therapy students, athletic trainers, and other disciplines.

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