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Nursing Program Receives New Patient Simulators

Posted Jan. 6, 2014


Kent State Ashtabula Receives Grant for Patient Simulators

ASHTABULA, Ohio (January 6, 2014) Kent State University at Ashtabula recently welcomed three new additions to their nursing skills lab.  Three high-fidelity patient simulators were recently added to Kent State Ashtabula's Nursing Skills Lab thanks to a grant from the Ohio Board of Nursing.  The adult, child, and baby simulators offer amazingly realistic interactions for students learning various nursing skills and give them a safe environment in which to practice their skills.  The simulators respond to treatment from the student nurses and give audiovisual and vital sign feedback on whether the treatment is working.  Students can listen for heart and lung sounds, administer intravenous fluids, apply oxygen, practice wound care, and more.  In response to treatment and medication, the simulators can exhibit changes in pulse, respiration, and heart and lung sounds.  They can also speak, blink their eyes, and cry. 

Kent State Ashtabula is proud to be the only location in the county to house such state-of-the-art patient simulators and to be part of the partnership that applied for the grant.  Grant partners include the Ashtabula County Medical Center and University Hospitals Geneva/Conneaut.  As part of the partnership, the simulators can be used by nurses at the partner hospitals for training and skills workshops.  In addition, experienced nurses from the partner hospitals will be working with students at Kent State Ashtabula to demonstrate how patient care works in a hospital setting and show the students skills they will use often as a professional nurse.  The adult simulator is also "non-tethered," meaning it can be transported to other locations for teaching and training purposes.      

While all Kent State nursing students complete a practicum in a healthcare setting, the experience they receive depends greatly on the patients that arrive at their practicum site for treatment.  Some student nurses may be exposed to a variety of medical problems, while others may be in an area where they repeatedly see the same type of patient conditions.  The use of simulators allows the student nurses to be exposed to a greater variety of medical scenarios and to be able to practice their skills, not just observe.  Nursing Skills Lab and Simulation Center Coordinator Amy Lower is excited for students to have the opportunity to work on the simulators.

"We're so happy to be able to offer our students such a hands-on education.  Students work on the simulators as a team, and the experience improves the students' communication, teamwork, and critical thinking skills.  The ability for students to practice such a wide array of procedures makes them highly sought after nurses and ensures that they will be confident and ready for a fast paced healthcare setting," Lower said.

Nurses continue to be in high demand across the country and in Ohio.  Despite the abundance of job opportunities, nearly one third of nursing students drop out in their first year due to the high intensity of nursing programs and uncertainty about performing skills on actual patients.  The use of high-definition simulators offer students the hands-on practice they need to feel confident in the skills they learn in textbooks by putting theory into practice.  In return, their experience practicing skills makes them highly sought after nurses in the healthcare field.  

"We're very excited to have been chosen as one of the grants awarded by the Ohio Board of Nursing.  Their support will directly benefit our students and our program completion rates by offering the hands-on experience students need to feel confident in their nursing skills," said Penni-Lynn Rolen, Nursing Program Director at Kent State Ashtabula.  The purpose of the Ohio Board of Nursing grant is to increase the enrollment capacity of the recipient school's nursing education program.

KSUA Patient Simulators

Photo: Second semester nursing students (left to right) Christina Roberts, Sarah Yearwood, Stephanie Ogrodnichek, and Charity Riffle work on the simulators.