Photo Credit: Heather Johnson & Brent L. Cobb
In January 2020, Mid-Plains Community College’s (MPCC) North Platte campus in Nebraska began using two new high-fidelity patient simulators. The simulators are housed in the college’s nursing simulation lab, where nursing students complete clinical training hours. The simulators allow students to gain hands-on experience providing care for patients during obstetric and neonatal care events.
Gaumard’s Victoria and Super Tory will replace the nursing simulation lab’s previous obstetric and neonate manikins, Noelle and Hal, also made by Gaumard. MPCC’s nursing students used these manikins for seven years. In that time, Noelle gave birth over 400 times.
MPCC’s mission is to provide students with exceptional learning opportunities for individual student success. This is why MPCC uses simulation to help train nursing students. Each of the simulated births allowed the participating nursing students to apply what they had learned in the classroom and to think critically as they made treatment decisions.
The hands-on experience students gain during clinical hours is critical to developing highly knowledgeable and competent nurses. However, the United States is currently experiencing a shortage of clinical training sites. This shortage means nursing schools have had to limit enrollment at a time when the U.S. is also experiencing a shortage of nurses.
Moreover, a lack of clinical training sites means students cannot gain hands-on experience diagnosing and treating patients before they enter the workforce. An inexperienced clinician can potentially make costly mistakes and put patient safety at risk. However, simulation-based training ensures students experience a variety of events before they enter a real clinical setting.
In 2011, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) conducted a study that found that replacing 25 to 50% of clinical hours with simulation-based training had no significant negative effect on the knowledge and clinical competency of students.
Additionally, studies have shown that practicing skills on a patient simulator can boost student self-confidence and prepare them for the rigors of the clinical setting. Also, clinical simulations can bridge the gap between knowledge gained in the classroom and clinical practice with patients. Simulated scenarios force students to be active participants and use their knowledge to formulate a proper intervention.
Victoria and Super Tory were purchased with money from the college’s instructional equipment fund. The simulators will add a new level of realism to scenarios and allow providers of all levels to gain experience diagnosing and treating a variety of obstetric, childbirth, and neonatal care events.
By providing students with opportunities to gain experience, build confidence, and hone their skills in a simulated environment first, they will be able to provide better care and make fewer mistakes in the real world. Thus, MPCC is helping to create nurses who are much more attractive candidates to prospective employers.
“Our nursing students as soon as they graduate–whether they’re going for a nursing home, a long-term facility, whether it be a clinic or a hospital, they all have jobs,” says MPCC President Ryan Purdy.
Through simulation-based training, MPCC ensures its graduates develop a reputation as highly-trained and competent healthcare providers. With campuses in the cities of McCook, Broken Bow, Imperial, Ogallala, and Valentine, MPCC nursing students could help improve the health outcomes for people across Nebraska for years to come.