Scholarship Finalist - Krystal Adams

How the Use of Practi-Products and Medical Simulation Have Enhanced My Education

By Krystal Adams

Krystal AdamsI closed my eyes as I listened to the details my instructor listed. My heart was pounding and my pulse was racing. This was my first semester as a nursing student and simulation day had arrived. I knew it was coming. I had counted down the days and prepared endlessly. As I heard my name called I stood up from my seat and nervously walked with two of my other classmates. Our simulation was deep vein thrombosis with possible pulmonary embolism.

My teacher handed us each a different card with what roles to play. There was the medication nurse, bedside nurse, and the circulating nurse. I was the last to draw a card and my lot was to be the circulating nurse. My teacher did a hand off and briefed us with the scenario outside of the patient’s room. A man had just returned from surgery, we were supposed to give him his meds, insert a Foley Catheter and hang an I.V. . We got all of our supplies together and entered the room. It was at this time that we met SIM man. We began by asking how he was doing that day. He replied in a sarcastic tone, “Fine, I just wish you would hurry.” My classmates and I looked at each other. We were surprised to hear our teacher’s voice coming from the SIM man. We continued as planned to check his blood pressure, listen to his heart rate, and do capillary refills. Just as we were about to insert the IV and Foley Catheter, we were interrupted by complaints of leg man from SIM Man. We checked his legs and discovered that his right leg had edema and warmth. We decided to elevate the legs and it was my job to call the doctor and to give her the situation, background, assessment and our recommendation for the patient. It was at this point that our patient started complaining of chest pain and had shortness of breath. We knew we had been too late to prevent the pulmonary embolism. Our allotted time ended for our simulation and we walked out of the room. Our performance had been video recorded and we sat down to watch and discuss what we could have done better. I was exhausted and a little frustrated as I realized that if this would have been a real patient then I would have been in serious trouble.

This was an incredible and very realistic experience. We treated the SIM man just as if he was the patient. We spent time listening to his heart beat and analyzing his responses to our probing questions about his health. His retorts were so realistic that we could not help but talk back to him as if he was real. From this experience, I have learned that there is a vast difference between reading a text book and actually being able to practice with a real life simulation. It truly is amazing to see how far technology has come. This was an experience that provided us the learning opportunity that we needed before entering the hospital. Not only was it an experience, but it allowed us to have more confidence in our skills and abilities to communicate more effectively with our patients. It is my hope that every nursing student is given the opportunity to work with this type of simulation so that they will be able to assist their patients more effectively and safely.