Purpose: Current trends in nursing education include the use of clinical simulations to provide much needed clinical experiences in an environment where schools are competing for limited clinical placement space. In addition, educational institutions are finding it more difficult to locate funding for high cost, high fidelity simulators. New approaches to meeting nursing clinical educational needs must be explored.
Design: An MSN educational project was implemented to determine the feasibility of partnering a small, private university BSN program with a nearby air force base with a teaching hospital to use the existing high fidelity simulation lab.
Setting: One of the largest air force healthcare training facilities located in the southeast USA served as the setting for the simulation experience. A state-of-the-art high fidelity simulation lab fully staffed and available to provide customized training sessions on a variety of clinical scenarios was utilized for the project.
Participants: Sixteen students enrolled in a pediatric course as part of a pre-licensure BSN program in a small, private university (total enrollment < 3,000) took part in an eight hour series of planned clinical simulations.
Methodology/Process: The MSN student was an active duty military member who collaborated with airmen and simulation lab personnel to produce clinical scenarios that were 1) fundamental pediatric skills 2) scenarios that were often difficult to encounter in lower level care hospital settings, 3) high fidelity simulations that would not otherwise be available to the nursing students.
Results: Nursing students participated in procedures such as IV starts on pediatric size veins, intraosseous needle insertion, pin site care, and urinary catheterization. Included in the simulations were stations that represented 1) Response to respiratory distress and proper airway insertion 2) Identification of heart sounds, cardiac murmurs, and dysrhythmias 3) Pediatric code
Implications: Student evaluations as well as interviews with the simulation lab staff and volunteer airmen instructors revealed: Students benefited from exposure to clinical experiences that would otherwise not have been available in traditional settings. Students, staff, and volunteer instructors all expressed a positive experience of collegiality working with a previously unfamiliar community group. Efforts to collaborate with community partners to maximize existing resources can enhance learning experiences and strengthen community ties.
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