“Code Blue! Code Blue!” Students jump into action in the patient’s room, assess the situation, interpret the heart rhythm, and begin cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), using the skills just learned in class. The ‘patient’ survives, though the ‘patient ‘is not actually a live person in a hospital, but a high fidelity simulator in a realistic-looking setting.
Simulation has transformed nursing education because it provides experiential learning and a chance to practice critical thinking skills, as in a hospital setting, but in a safe environment. Students work in groups, often changing roles, to practice caring for ‘patients’ with conditions they may not ever encounter as students in a hospital, including uncommon but potentially life-threatening problems such as shock or hemorrhage.
The Clayton State University School of Nursing Simulation Center has Adult, Child, and Pediatric simulators, including ‘Noelle’, A realistic maternal health birthing simulator,, who gives birth realistically. Students care for patient simulators which replicate human functions such as blood pressure, pulse, breath sounds, and bowel sounds, and can even ‘talk’ live with the use of an audio system.
Action can be stopped for teaching, and a video of the entire simulation recorded for debriefing. Debriefing is an essential component of simulation as students can critique their own work, ask questions, and allow the instructor to discuss best practices. Often students debrief each other, pointing out gaps and errors, and congratulating good decisions by their team mates.
Students can practice many skills at once in simulation, such as therapeutic conversations, medication administration, and dressing changes. Experiences are planned by the faculty to meet course objectives and promote key concepts such as communication, safety, teamwork, and leadership to prepare future expert nurses.