Nursing students at Texas State Technical College will be learning with some new equipment. Several grants are allowing for the purchase of a Nurse Anne simulator, a SimBaby simulator and a SimMom update, among other teaching essentials.
The simulators, which mimic real patients, give students a real-world sense of their future careers. They also make for more learning time due to current limits on clinicals and other outside practicums.
TSTC Nursing program director and instructor Shirley Byrd says TSTC is fortunate to receive several grants since 2019. The funds have helped update the technology and equipment for the program.
“This equipment will help the students become independent practitioners without fear of harm to a live patient,” she said. “Students will be able to practice until they are sure of their skills and an instructor has checked them off prior to actually performing the procedure on a patient.”
Installing Confidence in Practice
Instructors will closely monitor nursing students through their time practicing on the simulators. Byrd said faculty control the simulators. They can convey a range of reactions, such as pain, crying and even speaking.
“Each instructor has had intense instructions and workshops on the uses and functionality of all equipment and how to use it for the best outcomes,” she said. “The grant monies received were utilized not only to purchase equipment, but also to provide education to all instructors on-site and in distance learning.”
Byrd added that hands-on experience is a vital part of the program.
“This ability to teach students this type of care in the simulation lab is the closest thing we have to utilizing the clinical sites of the hospitals,” she said. “This does not take the place of hands-on nursing care, but it gives us the opportunity to instill confidence and a solid skill set in the student prior to their clinicals.”