Nursing students will put their knowledge to the test through simulations of high-risk medical scenarios.
Kramer West, which includes the Campus Health Clinic, soon also will include the Herman and LaDonna Meinders Nursing Simulation Center.
It will be a lab with seven rooms outfitted to simulate real-world hospital rooms. Each room will be equipped with a high-fidelity manikin, a jointed model of a human body that is computerized to perform human functions such as blinking and breathing.
“Their hearts beat, they will bleed, they can talk to you, they can cry, so they can do almost anything that a live patient does,” said Linda Cook, associate nursing dean.
The school currently has two simulators in a lab, but there was not enough equipment for an entire simulation program.
Cook said the lab will give nursing students the opportunity to simulate situations too dangerous for them to handle firsthand.
“For instance, if we had a patient who had cardiac arrest, in real life, the job of a student nurse would be to stand on a stool in the corner so they can watch everything,” she said. “In the simulation center, they get to actually take care of that patient, give medication, see the manikin respond better or worse with the medication, and students can actually get a firsthand impression of what it’s like to do that in real life.”
Manikins range from ages newborn to adult to provide simulations for all ranges of medical emergencies, including one reserved for childbirth simulation.
“You just can’t always plan on having a student nurse there when a woman has a baby,” she said.
The school’s executive committee proposed the idea to university officials, who approved it in Fall 2016, on the condition that they raise the money. Nursing Dean Lois Salmeron raised $1.1 million from trustees and OCU supporters in the community.
The funds paid for the center, but maintaining and purchasing new manikins will require another fundraiser, Cook said.
Construction on the simulation center began during the summer and is still underway. It is expected to be finished Nov. 6. The manikins were connected to their computer systems last week.
The lab will be helpful to prepare students for a professional setting ahead of time, said Lauren Sloan, nursing sophomore.
“Especially for first-semester nursing students, as well as everybody in the program, it’ll give them a more hands-on experience with an actual patient room,” Sloan said. “It gives us scenarios and things that help us before we go into a clinical setting.”
Cook said the simulation center is consistent with the purpose of all nursing schools.
“There aren’t too many situations where you have someone who might be 22 years old and graduating college with a bachelor’s degree and, one week later, is making life and death decisions,” she said. “That’s what nursing school does. It gets them ready for that, and simulations play a big role in that.”
For more information about the Kramer Nursing Simulation Center, visit issuu.com/okcu/docs/kramer_nursing_simulation_center.