Using the high tech simulation lab at Big Bend Community College, level II nursing students work their way around a room filled only with cardiac monitors. Each of these screens have been programmed by a medical simulation technician to depict a heart disorder that the student will likely encounter as a nurse in the future.
As the students practice in the simulation lab, they are able to grow in skill and confidence. Joy Dawe, Level II nursing student, agrees that her confidence grew while using simulated cardiac training because it “helped to identify and remediate some shortcomings in understanding cardiac rhythms, especially when trying to decipher the variations between similar dysrhythmias.” Identifying these shortcomings in a safe environment allows the students to ask questions, seek answers, and practice until mastery is achieved.
Katherine Christian, Director of Health Education, also appreciates the value of the simulated cardiac lab. She stated that “use of simulated cardiac rhythms helped students recognize variations and connect heart rhythm changes to corresponding patient symptoms such as high or low blood pressures.” As the students identify this information, they can began to critically engage with how they would approach their patient care by exploring interventions and treatment options.
Even though learning about heart rhythm disorders is a challenging task, the use of medical simulation makes tackling this important and complex skill that much easier.
This opportunity is due to a Title V grant that has brought a state of the art Medical Simulation degree program to Big Bend Community College. Students in this new program will have the opportunity to work in partnership with the healthcare programs at BBCC by programming the various simulators to reflect real world experiences.