Most of you know that I am helping teach a weekly nursing skills lab at Belmont, and I am completing my Master's in Nursing Education. Right now, I am really pumped about anything that has to do with nursing education. I want to know about everything and pick everyone's brains. Yesterday and today I attended the first annual simulation conference at Belmont for all the nursing schools in TN. You may ask...what is simulation? Simulation has just begun being used recently. I did not have it when I was in nursing school. It's amazing what can be done these days. Basically, you have an interactive manikin that can simulate any medical situation you want. It's so neat. These manikins respond to human touch, so the student gets points for palpating pulses when needed, applying oxygen, listening to breath sounds, etc. The manikins at Belmont are run by an instructor behind a one way mirror while the students respond (hopefully) to the cues given to them by the manikin. Many skeptics of simulation argue that simulation cannot be used to replace clinicals in the hospital. Of course they can't substitute for human interaction, but when you have a true simulation like the one I participated in today, you see that they are so real. I actually got anxious during the simulation even though I was playing the doctor. The patient was moaning and groaning, a (fake) family member was becoming hysterical demanding pain medicine for her husband and the nurse was to call the doctor for orders, all while using SBAR communication (don't ask), remaining calm, monitoring vital signs, starting a heparin drip...you get the picture. It's amazing. Did I mention that they video you so they can go over what you did well and what you could do better? You can see why I got a little anxious. You totally get into it. Students get really upset when the manikin dies, but it's a safe environment where no one gets hurt. Wouldn't you want a nurse to kill a manikin instead of a patient? I also got to see the manikin that can actually give birth! Way cool. Real nursing students did the simulation with an instructor prompting them and one moaning and screaming that the baby was coming. It was so real. The students actually measure dilation and have to coach the manikin through birth.
Can you tell I'm excited about my future career? I can't wait to teach full-time and influence new nurses.