Simulation exercises help UAH nursing students in real-world sit - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Simulation exercises help UAH nursing students in real-world situations

UAH nursing students get immersive instruction with the aid of lifelike plastic patients. (Source: WAFF) UAH nursing students get immersive instruction with the aid of lifelike plastic patients. (Source: WAFF)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Inside a patient room at the University of Alabama Huntsville's school of nursing, lies a mannequin in a patient bed.  He is hooked up to a heart monitor and other machines.

This is not your average mannequin; there are several here which are part of a simulation.

Dr. Marsha Howell Adams is the Dean and a professor at the School of Nursing .

"The faculty members are here in the control room and they are watching and they are acting as the voice of the patient," said Dr. Adams.

Teaching someone in the medical profession has to be an exact science. That's why they have simulations and even mechanical "patients," which can blink and even breathe like a real person.

Students are exposed to many different medical issues. The plastic patients range from newborn to older adults.

Behind a glass window, instructors grade potential nurses using several scenarios.

"Students are not only looking at the patient, they're also looking at the telemetry. They can see blood pressure, heart rate, respiration," said Adams.

She says the student's response determines their grade.  

"As the students work with the patients, the faculty member is here looking and documenting specific responses whether they're appropriate or not," Adams explained. "The student is being videotaped throughout this entire experience. And the faculty member is able to document different actions by the nursing student."

WEB: UAH Nursing

One person benefiting from the program is Amy Hunter.

She is now a full time faculty member and a family nurse practitioner who sees about 65 patients a day.

"With the opportunities we are provided within Charger Hospital, to use the simulators, use all the clinical experiences that we're going to see at the bedside, it prepares us to be the best nurses possible," Hunter said.

She says UAH  keeps working for the student, even after graduation.

"UAH College of Nursing is dedicated to make sure our graduates find jobs in the work force," she said.

Hunter maintains the job search is made easier because UAH has a stellar reputation.  From here, graduates can go on heal the body, mind and soul of their patients concentrating on bedside observations.

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