Simulation Centres provide expanded learning opportunity
Clinical placements give School of Nursing students the opportunity to learn and deliver patient care in a variety of situations. During the past year, students in Sask Polytechnic’s nursing programs continued to participate in continuing care placements, however, concern for student and resident safety during the pandemic limited the clinical experience for students.
Faculty and staff at Saskatchewan Polytechnic didn’t let the pandemic get in the way of student education. While the pandemic has created obstacles, it has also created opportunities.
"When students have to forego their clinical experiences because of the pandemic, the Simulation Centres are in a unique position to be able to supplement the students’ clinical learning with simulation based learning,” said Suzanne Storey, Simulation Centre instructor. “We are happy to help nursing and health sciences programs provide additional learning opportunities for their students."
Simulation Centres are important student learning tools. The high-fidelity environments on Sask Polytechnic campuses are used to replicate complex scenarios in a safe environment and are designed to be as realistic as possible.
At Sask Polytech, simulation labs with a variety of equipment including specialized mannequins are utilized to provide students with realistic experiences in a controlled environment. Simulations are fully immersive and interactive which enable learners to be more involved in the near real-life scenarios. With expanding chests that breathe, variable heart rates and tones, measurable blood pressure and the ability to give birth, among other things, high fidelity mannequins are the most life-like.
A simulation technologist operates these mannequins from a separate control room to monitor and make changes to the simulator as the session progresses. This provides learners the opportunity to respond to changes in the mannequin, not instructor cues.
Sask Polytech Simulation Centres can be set up to depict innumerable scenarios, depending on the lesson to be taught and the student group in the class. Normally reserved for students in more advanced classes, this year, first-year nursing students had the opportunity to practice scenarios that developed their critical thinking, nursing judgement, team communication, bed-side manner and patient assessment in the Simulation Centre environment.
Feedback from staff and students has been very positive. If the need continues, there is an opportunity to develop additional training modules for first-year students.
“Realistic scenarios can be created in the Simulation Centres, giving students the opportunity to learn in a safe environment,” said Dr. Madeline Press, director, Centre for Health Research, Improvement and Scholarship and Interim Manager, Simulation Centres. “It’s an efficient, effective way to provide learning opportunities for students.”
Student feedback on the Simulation Centre experience has been very positive. Students report gaining confidence in their practical and communication skills while working through the exercises.
Safety for students and staff remains a top priority for Sask Polytech. Whether in a clinical setting, or on campus, strict COVID-19 protocol is followed. For continued campus safety, our students and employees continue to work and learn from home whenever possible. A combination of online/distance instruction and limited in-person learning experiences where needed, give students the best chance of academic success in the ever-changing environment of the global pandemic.
Published March 2021.