LU News Archive

Nursing simulation lab open house scheduled Feb. 17

The Lamar University JoAnne Gay Dishman Department of Nursing will host an open house at the High-Fidelity Simulation Center in the Mamie McFadden Ward building Feb. 17 from 2-4 p.m.  The public is invited to tour the state-of-the-art nursing simulation facility designed to emulate the actual hospital environment nursing majors will encounter upon graduation.

On entering the simulation center, one gets the feeling of walking through the halls of a hospital wing.  Mock hospital rooms are set up and furnished with the equipment nurses will be using with live patients.  However, the patients these nursing students examine and care for are actually high-fidelity mannequins designed to mimic a myriad of bodily functions.  Junior- and senior-level nursing students assess the wellness status of their non-human patients while faculty instructors remotely assess the nursing majors’ decisions.

“The mannequins can interact in real time with the students as they make their assessments and perform their assigned duties,” said Eileen Deges Curl, chair and professor for the nursing department.  “Each mock hospital room is equipped with overhead microphones and cameras so the instructor can monitor each student action and provide feedback.”

Much like a student pilot would use a flight simulator to learn to pilot an aircraft in various scenarios controlled by the flight instructor, the interactive mannequins are controlled by a faculty member in a nearby control room.  Good assessments and actions on the part of the student elicit good responses, while bad decisions bring bad responses from the patient.  Unlike training in a traditional hospital setting where students follow and watch nurses, the simulation lab provides scenarios that may not happen in the traditional setting.  These mannequins can have a heart attack every day, said Curl.

The simulation center is equipped with 10 hospital room labs, some with high-fidelity mannequins that simulate breathing with the rise and fall of the chest, as well as the sounds of the heartbeat, and lung functions.  The birthing room lab features a mannequin that imitates the full birthing process; complete with a newborn baby.  The newborn mannequin is capable of simulating various types of abnormal infant breathing, turns blue at the extremities and replicates the concave or convex appearance of the fontanel, the soft spot on the skull, when there is too much or too little fluid present.

“We’re very proud of our nursing simulation center because it gives our students the hands-on, decision-making preparation they will need to be successful,” said Curl.  “We have been told by health care professionals who have visited many nursing programs that our facility is one of the best in the country.”

Nursing students and faculty will be giving simulations with adult and pediatric mannequins during the tour.  For more information about the High-Fidelity Simulation Center open house, contact Eileen Deges Curl at 409-880-8818.