Liberty nursing students use hands on simulation tech to experience real-life medical scenarios in their fields
The Liberty University Nursing program comes in third in the state and 87th in the country, according to rncareers.org. That rank reflects the rigor of the program that includes 400 hours of simulated patient care.
According to the Virginia Board of Nursing Education Requirements, students in a prelicensure registered nurse program must have a minimum of 500 direct patient care hours. The Board of Nursing will allow up to 25% (125 of the 500 hours) to be in simulation. This opportunity allows the nursing student to participate in a scenario providing patient care in a safe, learning environment.
Referring to Liberty’s website, the Liberty University School of Nursing Simulation Center (LUSON) totals over 14,019 square feet of fundamental skills labs. The center features 39 separate rooms for simulation, debriefing, skills lab, classroom, media and supply storage as well as 15 B-Line camera-equipped high fidelity simulation rooms.
This high-tech equipment provides valuable opportunities for students to learn, make mistakes and practice, all in a supervised and dependable environment.
Simulation is embedded within all clinical courses offered at LUSON. A nursing student will have the opportunity to participate in a scenario, practicing patient interaction and skills. The student will have participated in scenarios for the following courses prior to graduation: Med-surg, OB, Peds, Critical Care, Mental Health and Community and Leadership.
Lisa Foote is the executive director of simulations and standard patients and she knows the importance of simulation in the nursing program.
“We try to align the simulations exactly with their course’s learning outcomes and provide extreme opportunities that they may not necessarily encounter again as a student but will in person and as a registered nurse,” Foote said.
Nursing students can improve their patient outcomes through repeated practice and introduce themselves to hands-on learning that they may not have been able to experience in their clinical hours.
“Providing the students with constant support and patience is very important,” Foote said.
The simulations can help students practice anything, from helping in childbirth, IV insertion, standard care, organ and rib identification and many more. Students are put through several simulations involving mannequins where they are coached on bedside manners and standard vital checks. Students are also coached on communication since effective communication can make a huge difference in the experience and recovery of a patient.
Communication techniques are taught throughout the nursing program and are specific to the different patient populations. Students practice the different techniques within their scenarios and are provided feedback.
At Liberty, students are encouraged to pray for their patients, with permission, in and out of the room.
“We want our nurses to engage with their patients through prayer. We view nursing as ministry here at Liberty University,” Foote said.
While the nursing program is often referred to as “intense” and “difficult,” the program has a high success rate of equipped nurses in the workforce. Not only are they equipped professionally and academically but spiritually as well. For more information about the Liberty Nursing program visit this website.
Popa is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion