This week, St. Petersburg College’s College of Nursing partnered with the College of Health Sciences to provide a collaborative simulation training experience for students pursuing the Respiratory Care A.S. Degree and the Nursing A.S. Degree.
The two groups practiced a simulation of a respiratory emergency, in which a patient presents with symptoms that steadily get worse, resulting in the need for action. Students must follow proper protocols and make decisions, giving medications and treatments based on all the information and training that they have received. A student plays the scripted part of the patient, and treatments are administered to a state-of-the-art manikin.
Nursing Instructor Dr. Connie Lindmeier said that, though instructors were on hand to observe, students could only consult with each other.
“If they had questions, they had to talk to each other,” Lindmeier said. “We made ourselves very scarce, because the whole point is that the exercise is student-directed.”
Simulation allows students in health programs the opportunity to learn within a controlled environment and build clinical and critical thinking skills before moving on to real patients. Using inter-professional education scenarios during those simulations offers an understanding of other professional roles in patient care, as well as valuable practice in teamwork and collaboration.
“It’s easy to work and learn in discipline-specific silos,” said Dr. Eric Carver, Acting Provost at SPC’s Health Education Center. “However, partnering across disciplines encourages communication, promotes respect for diverse professions, and provides a unique learning experience for our students.”
This year, the simulation training was a little different, due to COVID restrictions that only allowed a small group of students in a room together, but those who couldn’t actually take part in the simulation watched with their clinical group and were given the same information and learning objectives, working their way through the exercise remotely. Lindmeier, who oversaw one of the remote clinical groups, said everyone got the same experience. She credits Nursing Chair Dr. Virginia Schneider and Respiratory Care Program Director Steven Hardt, along with the simulation equipment available at SPC, for the success of students.
“We’re very lucky that the three of us and others see that this is evidence-based education,” she said. “And with clinical sites being down, we’re blessed with our simulation equipment that allows us to keep up with our clinical hours.”