Preparing students for healthcare careers: At Atenas College, students receive complete training through clinical scenarios that are designed to prepare them for careers as highly proficient healthcare providers. When they are ready to enter the workforce at a hospital, medical office, or medical diagnostic and treatment center, Atenas College graduates are armed with the required clinical skills to reduce medical errors and increase patient safety.

To enhance the teaching and practice of medical healthcare for Atenas College students and faculty, Professor Hernández has created high quality simulation experiences at the Simulation and Clinical Learning Center. These simulation scenarios may be adjusted to serve both current and future needs of the healthcare industry. Likewise, students have the opportunity to master basic principles and to assess their achievement of different skill levels.

Interprofessional training and effectiveness of simulation

"The Center makes it easier for novice students to practice and develop skills, and to achieve competency, without exposing patients to risky situations,” said Hernández. “Our educational programs using simulation also offer inter-professional training for health teams in both routine and complex situations. And,our work with students at the Center is a way to conduct research to validate the use of simulation as an effective method for developing skills.” Professor Hernández noted that the Center also allows students who are not enrolled at the College to use simulation to learn through training programs offered to healthcare students and providers from surrounding communities.

The first simulation center in Puerto Rico to integrate clinical simulation into curricula

Atenas College has fully integrated clinical simulation into their curricula as part of their educational strategies. In June 2010, the College’s commitment to high quality education and technological innovation was recognized as the first Simulation Center in Puerto Rico to provide education through simulation.

During 2011, the required skills have been included in the First Response, Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) teams, both in the curricula design and at the Simulated Hospital. Instructors, students and health professionals have the opportunity to complete American Heart Association endorsed programs using hands-on standards. In addition, the educational curriculum incorporates scenarios that have been approved by the National League for Nursing.

Simulated Hospital is at the core of training and education programs

The Center includes a Simulated Hospital, which exposes both teachers and students to real life scenarios in pre-hospital and intra-hospital environments. The Center also encourages multidisciplinary health teams to work together to practice clinical skills. By fully integrating the use of simulation into its education strategies, and including clinical scenarios and debriefing with real time feedback, Atenas College has improved student learning. Instructors use simulation to reinforce positive skills mastery, and also rely upon it to conduct repetitive practice sessions when students need skills reinforcement.

The Center for Simulation and Clinical Learning boasts a variety of equipment and resources where students and teachers can reinforce the theoretical knowledge taught in the classroom. Student competencies are developed at the Simulated Hospital in several distinct areas, including Virtual Clinic, Adult and Pediatric Respiratory Intensive Care, Operating Room, Intensive Adult and Pediatric Maternity, Neonatal Care, Isolation Area,Basic Skills and Virtual I.V.®