Fairfield Nursing Seniors Begin Final Semester With 12-Hour Simulation

Fairfield Nursing Seniors Begin Final Semester With 12-Hour Simulation

The simulation challenged the students to imitate a real-world nursing shift.

Great nurses are those who have a strong foundation of knowledge and skills, and are able to critically manage situations with compassion and grace.

— Susan Reynolds, RN, BSN, MAHSM

 On Tuesday, January 22, senior nursing students underwent a 12-hour simulation meant to model the typical nursing work shift. The simulation was the largest Fairfield has ever executed, with participation by 88 students in their last semester.

“Great nurses are those who have a strong foundation of knowledge and skills, and are able to critically manage situations with compassion and grace,” stated Simulation Director Susan Reynolds, RN, BSN, MAHSM. “Simulation is a central component to an effective and safe learning environment in the field of nursing education as it provides that context and the realism without the risk of harm we have when working with hospitalized patients.”

The simulation, which took place on the first day back from winter break, kickstarted the semester with a true challenge for these students. “I felt that the simulation of skills was a very helpful tool because some of the skills we have not used in practice such as trach suctioning. I also really enjoyed the simulation experiences with the live people because there was immediate feedback given and questions asked through live conversation,” said Carissa Corraro ’19.

This simulation is part of a course taught by Katherine Saracino, MSN RN CWOCN, and it is modeled after a  simulation run by Mary Murphy, PhD, APRN, FNP last May, for approximately 55 students.

During the simulation, the students cared for patients across the lifespan and with a multitude of disease processes to give them a full range of experiences. This immersive experience was designed to help prepare the seniors for the upcoming National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which each senior will need to pass after graduation to begin his or her practice. The simulation offered the students the opportunity to practice NCLEX-style questions with pre-tests and post-tests, as well as a reflective writing station.   

After completing immersive stations or a group of self-directed stations, the students met with a facilitator to debrief and discuss the situations they had encountered. This ensured that students were able to solidify their knowledge and ask questions as they came up. Facilitators were made up of 19 faculty and seven graduate student volunteers across all specialties.

The objective for the simulation was for these students to experience a multitude of scenarios and be able to self-identify areas that need focused practice in this last semester, either during their last clinical rotation, otherwise known as transition to practice, or through their preparation work for the NCLEX. The list of topics and diseases covered is extensive, with everything from blood transfusion to medication administration to newborn care. Many students had never worked for that long and the purpose was to have them feel what it is like to be hungry, tired, and still have to give patient care.

Brittany Fasanelli ’19 shared her positive feedback of the simulation: “I really enjoyed the 12-hour simulation. It helped me refresh everything I have learned over the past few years in the nursing program and prepared me for my first 12-hour shift in the hospital.”

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