Artificial patients, real experiences: College of Nursing launches Sim Lab
The University of Manitoba officially opened a new, interactive lab at the College of Nursing focused on enhancing students’ hands-on abilities with high-fidelity mannequins that simulate a variety of conditions, complete with the readings and reactions that provide crucial feedback.
“The benefit of using simulated patients is that students will see many of the same things that they’ll encounter when they go into the workforce, but the environment is fully controlled,” said Barb Goodwin, director of Skills and Simulation Education. “If they make a mistake or miss something, there’s no harm to anyone.”
The lab opening was held on Friday, September 23 as part of the University of Manitoba Homecoming celebrations. Guests were invited on tours of the lab, hands-on activities and presentations from instructors on how simulation techniques are used in the nursing curriculum to enrich students’ learning.
The new space, located at the Helen Glass Centre for Nursing (Fort Garry campus), offers six high-fidelity mannequins that are able to provide simulated experiences ranging from childbirth and cardiac arrest, to asthma attacks or physical trauma.
Including pediatric models—there are two—provides students with the opportunity to learn the additional variables that come with treating patients of a much younger age or smaller frame.
Goodwin added that using simulated patients not only strengthens students’ skills by offering additional opportunities for practice—they can repeat a procedure as many times as necessary to feel confident—it also creates a consistent learning experience.
“In a clinical experience in the real world with real patients, we can’t guarantee that every student would encounter the same situation. Using the mannequins, every student will be able to learn a full complement of skills with the same range of patients and experiences.”
Nursing students will also benefit from the chance to debrief following a training session—reviewing each decision and its outcome on video.