Penn State Expands Nursing Simulation Labs 1

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Penn State Behrend is expanding their advanced nursing labs at an expense of $950,000. Behrend College’s expansion will create three additional simulation bays for nurses to train in.

Nursing simulation labs are expanding, offering new forms of nursing training that work to hone the skills of nurses without the need to work on actual, living patients. The nursing labs help remove the hands-on-training that nurses normally endure when they enter the operation room.

High-fidelity mannequins are used and can be adjusted to mimic nearly any health emergency that a nurse needs to handle.

The mannequins have been used to mimic everything, from epileptic seizures to cardiac arrest. Even birth-related issues can be trained on in the simulation environment thanks to the mother and mannequin baby combination.

Penn State Behrend hopes that by expanding their nursing simulation labs, the company will be able to expand access to the labs to new students. The nursing skills lab has also been upgraded, allowing for video feeds from each bay to be watched. Added simulation labs will also allow the college to support 40% more enrollment.

Nursing is in high demand, with a nationwide increase of 15% expected between 2016 and 2026.

The simulation labs are designed for specific scenarios, with one lab designed to be used for intensive care training and another for medical-surgical simulations. The second bay will allow for obstetrical and neonatal simulations, and the final bay will be able to be used for medical-surgical, psychiatric and pediatric simulations.

Surgical and emergency room simulations allow students to enter into a simulated environment and work on patients that have life-threatening illnesses or injuries. Male and female nurses can enter into the environment, dressed in their scrubs and ready to help the “patient.”

Classes can be recorded and re-watched to help students review procedures. Taping classes allows students to watch for errors and improve on their procedures. The simulated environment allows for a well-rounded education that relies less on the hands-on experience that nurses of the past could only learn in the middle of an operation or in a dire situation.

RWJBarnabas Health is also introducing their own simulation training program that is designed to give nurses hands-on operating room experience. Hands-on experience, even in a simulation lab, allows for lower patient risks and errors.

Nursing schools around the country are beginning to use simulation labs in an attempt to teach the new wave of nurses entering the field how to properly conduct procedures that would otherwise have only been learned in the field.