School hosts first-ever statewide nursing simulation conference
Photo by Dan Addison
|Nursing students attend the computerized SimMan patient — taking his blood pressure, checking his pulse and ventilating his airway, under the watchful eye of their instructor.
By Brevy Cannon
He talks, he breathes and his heart beats — not always in a healthy way. And that’s the point.
SimMan is a highly realistic, full body patient simulator that was developed to help educate health care providers. Nursing students can take his pulse, listen to his heart or watch it on an attached cardiogram, or discover a blocked airway and perform intubation or ventilation. When a student inserts a needle into one of SimMan’s veins, pressurized simulated blood “flashes back” out of the needle, just as it does from a real vein. Because SimMan has so many realistic features, an instructor can use the computer controls, along with imagination and inventiveness, to create any number of training scenarios.
That’s exactly why the School of Nursing, in conjuction with Laerdal Medical Corp., the manufacturer of SimMan and other simulation technologies, hosted the first-ever statewide patient simulator seminar on March 9 and 10 — to help users of the simulators share ideas on how to better incorporate the technology into curricula in order to gain maximum educational benefit.
The Simulation Users’ Group Conference (SMUG) brought together about 100 representatives from academic institutions and health care systems from throughout Virginia for two days of classes and workshops.
Reba Moyer Childress, U.Va. assistant professor and director of the school’s Laboratories for Clinical Learning since 1993, helped organize the conference. As a national leader in the field of patient simulation technologies, Childress was a founding board member of the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Teaching (2001), and she travels nationwide to promote simulation. She was ecstatic about the “phenomenal” turnout from around the state. “The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of patient care by providing realistic practice and critical decision-making experience for students without risk,” Childress said.
“We’re so pleased to collaborate with Laerdal in hosting this event,” she said. “It’s a major opportunity to develop an alliance of simulation users in nursing education; I can see a statewide alliance in Virginia serving as a national model.”