Simulation labs enhance education

Alison Herrmann

New simulation labs for UW Oshkosh’s College of Nursing debuted for the spring 2016 semester, allowing nursing students an expanded hands-on learning opportunity. Clow Social Science Center reopened Feb.1, after being closed for renovations, for the start of the semester. Vice Chancellor Jamie Ceman said the new simulation labs allow UWO to continue an interactive educational setting. “These are state-of-the-art so students can safely practice invasive procedures and also learn the best ways of interacting with and caring for patients,” Ceman said. “The labs are simulated hospital and home care environments. When students work with real patients they will have more confidence and will be better prepared to provide safe and expert care.” UWO College of Nursing Simulation Facilitator Polly Anderson said the new renovations include multiple simulation suites that can accommodate different scenarios the nursing students may practice. “We have four individual simulation suites that are convertible,” Anderson said. “They can be converted into a medical surgical suite, they can be converted into a clinic room or converted into a home-like space, so you can do home health care.” Anderson said along with the four simulation rooms, there are also debriefing rooms that allow students to watch live simulations or review their simulation. “It allows us to determine what areas they did really well and what areas they could potentially improve,” Anderson said. According to Anderson, the windows in Clow that look into the simulation labs are used not only for prospective students, but they are also a learning opportunity for the nursing students. “In health care, privacy is very important, so it was well thought out that the windows were put there to give the students the opportunity to think about, ‘is this a private moment? Should the windows be open or should the windows be closed?’ So it puts that thought into their minds during the actual simulation process as well,” Anderson said. Ceman said the new simulation labs, along with other contributors, allows the University to increase its enrollment of students into the College of Nursing. “We are able to grow and plan for future growth, in part because of these simulation lab spaces and also because of our new undergraduate practice lab and our graduate lab and exam rooms,” Ceman said. “We can accommodate more students and provide them with the latest technology and equipment.” Anderson said the College of Nursing enrolled an additional 24 students for the spring 2016 semester. “We used to enroll 72 students a semester and now this semester, not only because the sim lab itself, but due to the expanded space and the thoughtful process of our leadership team, we accepted 96 students with 16 of the students being in a year-round program,” Anderson said. “They will still graduate in the same amount of time, but utilizing interims, it will allow more students to be enrolled in the program.” UWO sophomore Peyton Scherff, who is applying to the College of Nursing in August will start the nursing program spring of 2017 if accepted, said she purposely chose to attend UWO because of the reputation of the nursing program. “I heard how competitive the program was, as well as its great reputation,” Scherff said. Scherff said the simulations will allow nursing students to correct their technique while being in a comfortable setting. “The simulation lab allows us to practice our skills and techniques in a realistic setting, while still being able to make mistakes and learn in many different scenarios,” Scherff said.