Many nursing educators face the challenge of incorporating simulation into the classroom and clinical time. They want to plan and implement a simulation training program but aren’t sure where to start. Ridgewater College faced that challenge head on and has experienced success with bringing simulation training into the curriculum and the community.
Ridgewater College was created in 1996 with the merger of Willmar Community College and Hutchinson-Willmar Regional Technical College. Their vision is to “be a dynamic educational leader, exemplifying innovation and excellence within a student-centered learning environment.” Their mission is “to provide quality educational opportunities for diverse student learners in an inclusive, supportive, and accessible environment.” The Nursing Program has an LPN and AD Program with about 250 students per semester.
Their journey began with the purchase of their first Laerdal added simulation to all clinical rotations and into classroom and lab time. The more they started using simulation, the more they wanted to learn and implement. Director of Simulation, Jeanne Cleary, BSN, MA, RN says, “We have done a lot of our own programming and running scenarios “on the fl y.” When we purchased SimNewB I decided I had to learn to run the pre-programmed scenarios and it is the only way I run her now – I love it!” Ridgewater uses simulation in all semesters of their nursing program, having at least three simulation days each semester as part of the clinical experience.
The two campuses use almost exclusively Laerdal products. They credit great customer service and their Laerdal representative who asks questions and assesses their needs before offering guidance on products or services. “Our favorite manikin is SimMan, but we look forward to adding more manikins, including SimMan 3G, to our Mobile Simulation unit which arrived in March!” Cleary says. They were so excited about simulation; they wanted to share it with the community.
The Nursing program partners with area hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other healthcare agencies to provide education programs. Cleary says students get a variety of clinical opportunities in these healthcare settings and they wanted to give something back. “We assisted one hospital with cross-training the nursing staff to a new Care Delivery System when combining the Medical and Surgical units into one unit. We have had RPAP (Rural Physician Associate Program) come to the campus for hands-on training for complex patient training. We also take our simulators to the health care setting such as SimNewB for NRP training and SimMan for ACLS training.”
Ridgewater now has “state-of-the-art” simulation centers on both campuses and a variety of Laerdal products, including: SimMan, SimBaby, SimNewB, a variety of VitalSim manikins, Virtual IV and coming soon – SimMan 3G. Cleary says, “3G will be the highlight of our Mobile Simulation unit.” The school also has experts in moulage to make the simulations as real-life as possible. "We have integrated simulation into all of our clinical semesters and into several classroom learning experiences.” Cleary says. One of their major success stories is the Senior Nursing Experience “After finding gaps in our ATI testing scores (Assessment Technologies Institute®), scenarios were developed to fill that area of learning and we now have a “Shock Day" that students rotate through."
“Our sim specialists spend a lot of time on the moulage, set up, and on the rotation of the stations. Students have to problem solve, demonstrate knowledge, skills and safety, and communicate with an MD using SBAR. While time varies among groups, all students meet the predetermined objectives of the scenarios. Students have risen to the challenge and the school added a capstone simulation of a bus accident with multiple trauma victims arriving to the simulated ER.”
Cleary says, “Shock Day has proven to be a success for our students. There has been an increase in course test scores, and students make comments like; ‘I know I did better on the test content that we had the simulation experience on.” Cleary adds, “We feel strongly that simulation and the active learning process has helped our students think critically, problem solve, and prioritize patient care. All of this helps them score better on tests and perform better clinically.