The Department of Nursing and Health Sciences was established in 1994 and now offers Bachelor Degree programs in Nursing and Physiotherapy and Master Degree programs in Nursing Management, Healthcare Management, and Health Promotion. The Department seeks to contribute to improved healthcare education by pioneering the academic training of nurses and health professionals. Having experienced the benefits of simulation training, Fulda now aims to move forward by extending this training. Fulda University of Applied Sciences has ca. 100 nursing students on the bachelor level.
To learn from peers, the clinical preceptor visited other educational institutions before basic skills training and interactive simulations were integrated with the nursing curriculum in Fulda in 1994.
The skills labs are headed by a lab engineer who administers the simulation training and also acts as instructor. The following instructors contribute with facilitating the training:
- 1 PhD nurse educator
- 1 PhD nurse scientist
- 1 MA nurse scientist
- 1 MA nursing mgt. student
- 1 MA health mgt. student
- 1 wound manager nurse
- 1 diabetic counselor
- 1 paramedic
- 2 nurses
Experience so far
Benefits: ''It is a common understanding that students learn far more from performing actual procedures on manikins compared with just having theory,'' says Senior Lecturer Christine Loewenhardt at Fulda University of Applied Sciences. ''And we, as educators, learn as well because we apply the latest scientific teaching methods and must stay abreast of new medical and surgical procedures, such as laparoscopic versus traditional open surgery. In other words, the simulation training makes us stay on top academically. Another benefit of the simulations is that they make it easier to identify the students’ competency levels, why faculty can now take precautions before the weaker students enter clinical placement. Because the ward nurses don’t have much time to supervise our students, most students are afraid to encounter new situations during clinical practice. Having acquired the skills beforehand increases their confidence.''
Challenges: Finding the time to develop simulation scenarios is hard. The ready made scenarios developed by National League for Nursing will probably alleviate some of the time constraints, once these are translated and applied. Other identified challenges so far have been teaching communication skills and obtaining sufficient realism during the simulation training. The faculty would prefer to increase the number of hours allocated to simulation training, but they need additional training equipment to do this.
''Simulation training is important because learning the skills here helps us prepare for our hospital training.''
Franziska Burhenne, 4th semester student at Fulda University of Applied Sciences.
The training facilities comprise two skills labs; each equipped with hospital beds, carts, and cupboards containing dressings and other care accessories.