CONNECTS: Simulation as an Instrument

Sunday, 8 November 2015: 4:20 PM

Melody Chandler, MSN, RN
Regional Simulation Center, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, TX, USA

Using simulation in nursing education has become a common teaching/learning milieu that most educational and healthcare entities have subscribed to in providing training and validation of clinical competence of participants. With ever-shrinking clinical opportunities and increases in nursing school enrollment, a significant challenge is for those educational centers to investigate innovative ways in which to increase capacity without compromising the quality of their offerings.

Creating a regional consortium, The Regional Simulation Center (RSC), has proven effective in combining and conserving resources while providing a shared environment for nursing education. The RSC provides high-fidelity simulations and skills training to a broad variety of participants in a fully staffed facility. The goal of the RSC is to continually be progressive and improve upon its offerings to create optimal learning environments with superior learning experiences for the participants. Development includes seeking out innovative ways to connect theory, technology and skills within the center.

Learners from multiple, diverse educational settings, that may have never had a clinical experience, to seasoned healthcare professionals, who may have spent years in acute care settings, utilize the RSC. The RSC strives to create meaningful learning experiences based on specific learner objectives to increase the likelihood of these connections. Another effort is made aesthetically to provide clinical experiences that appear as real as what a participant would experience in a true clinical setting. Partnering with the local, regional hospital, the consortium has access to all of the current practice changes as well as medical supplies that tend to be ever-changing in the clinical setting. When learners transition back and forth throughout the semester from the clinical setting of the hospital to the RSC, it fosters more confidence in the learners since they have the opportunity to practice with familiar, similar equipment in both environments.

Over the past 10 years the RSC has experienced a tremendous increase in utilization which has forced it to seek out innovative ways to increase its capacity. Advances in technology with barcode scanning systems, bedside charting and electronic medical records have also created a learning gap and a need for increasing utilization of technological advances in the RSC. CONNECT is a program that strives to bridge this gap.