How Simulation Helps Healthcare Students Practice Clinical Skills and Gain Experience Providing Care

Photo Credit: Janelle Hill/DeSales University

DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, officially debuted their new patient simulators to the campus community earlier this year. The addition of the new manikins allows students to participate in highly immersive and realistic simulated clinical events wherein they will practice clinical skills, fine-tune processes, and gain experience providing care to patients.    

The Gambet Center at DeSales University houses the nursing simulation labs. The sim labs house a 12-bed in-patient and a 12-bed out-patient practice environment equipped with various patient simulators, a clinical skills lab, and a suite that simulates a healthcare office where students can participate in scenarios involving standardized patients.

The three new high-fidelity manikins housed in the simulation center were purchased from Gaumard Scientific. All three have state-of-the-art features that allow educators to create a variety of scenarios so students can gain experience providing care during obstetric, adult, and pediatric emergency events.

Nursing students gain experience providing care in a clinical setting
DeSales Students Gain Experience Providing Care in a Clinical Setting

The simulated events allow students to apply the knowledge and skills they learned in the classroom to the care of patients in a clinical setting. As students work hands-on with the simulated patients, they receive feedback from educators. Even if students make a mistake, they can reflect on what went wrong, repeat the scenario, and work to improve their skills.

“By having these sim patients, we’re allowed to practice real-life scenarios before we actually go into the hospital, which is a huge benefit,” says Allison Nicinski, a sophomore nursing major. “It’s okay to make mistakes, and that’s how you learn best, I think. So that’s extremely helpful.”

Research by educational theorists David Kolb and Ronald Fry posit that adults learn by doing. Through active, hands-on experiences, adults can observe and reflect on their work and change their actions based on what they have learned.

In the sim center, educators can recreate the stress and emotions inherent in real clinical events. As students repeatedly practice clinical skills and observe the results of their actions, they hone their abilities and learn how to avoid the mistakes inexperienced clinicians can make. Once training in the sim center is finished, students enter the workforce with the experience needed to provide safe and highly competent care to real patients.

Through a series of live demonstrations, students and faculty were introduced to the new simulators. Students were able to see firsthand each of the simulators’ many impressive features and participate in scenarios.

VICTORIA is an adult obstetrical and gynecological manikin. During the demonstration, several physician assistant students helped her give birth. Victoria can simulate normal to complex births. Participants can practice surgical procedures like C-section and even gain experience managing rare but life-threatening complications like a breech birth or shoulder dystocia.

Nursing students gain experience delivering a baby
DeSales Students Participate in a Labor & Delivery Scenario

Students traditionally gain experience treating obstetric events during clinical hours. However, since these events are rare, some students might never experience a breech birth during clinical hours. A clinician might make a mistake during this high-stress event without prior practice.       

A demonstration with the HAL 3201 adult simulator was used for a scenario involving a patient suffering from chest pain. Stroke and heart attack victims require immediate interventions by clinicians to avoid serious harm. Therefore, clinicians who have the knowledge and experience to provide quick and accurate care to these patients will ensure better outcomes.    

Finally, Pediatric HAL can show highly realistic facial expressions and can communicate with care providers. These features allow students to practice patient-provider communication skills that are vital to diagnosing pediatric patients. This helps reduce the stress pediatric patients might feel and leads to shorter hospital stays.

Ultimately, DeSales University wants to give their healthcare students every opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills so they can avoid mistakes and ensure patients get the best care possible. The addition of these three simulators to the sim center will help the university achieve this goal.  

To read the full article, please visit the DeSales University website. To learn more about VICTORIA, Pediatric HAL, HAL 3201, or any of Gaumard’s other patient simulators, please visit the Gaumard website.

About the Author
Please contact me with any questions or comments at:
Scroll to top