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Last month, the Department of Nursing officially opened the doors of its new simulation center in the Center for Nursing Excellence.
“We believe clinical simulation is instrumental in educating and integrating staff into our highly technical care environment,” said Miriam Greenspan, MSN, RN, program manager of the Nursing Simulation Center. “Staff are able to practice skills they need and learn BWH technology in a safe, risk-free and non-judgmental environment.”
Carol Luppi, BSN, RN, nurse educator for technology, and Diane Campbell, BSN, RN, central nurse educator, received a Mary Fay Enrichment Award in 2005 that enabled them to learn about simulation at other organizations and bring that knowledge back to BWH to plan for Nursing’s simulation center.
The center boasts adult and neonate patient mannequins in an inpatient room completely equipped with BWH’s bedside technology, including eMAR, monitors, a code cart, Alaris Smart Pumps and other technology. Clinical simulations are designed so nurses can learn how to use new equipment and practice techniques on patients who are as unique as actual patients.
From a control room behind a two-way mirror, Center for Nursing Excellence staff control the mannequins and create a life-like situation as newly-licensed nurses and experienced nurses new to the Brigham determine how to care for the patient.
“We can increase the mannequin’s heart rate, lower blood pressure, create a physiologic crisis such as a code and basically craft any scenario that staff nurses at BWH face,” said Dorothy Bradley, MSN, RN, program coordinator in the Center for Nursing Excellence. Mannequins can make wheezing sounds, hiccup, and, in the case of the mannequin baby, cry like a real infant.
The mannequins also interact with nurses like real patients. During one scenario, Campbell, provided the voice for patient David Von Trapp. “Your hands are cold,” he told the three nurses caring for him.
When they gave him nitroglycerin to relive his pain, he complained, “This tastes gross.”
Another patient, Sadie, kept up a steady stream of chatter and requests for food as nurses worked to ease her pain. Giving each mannequin a unique voice and history makes for a realistic scenario and better training.
Through the end of the month, the Nursing Simulation Center is piloting a program to enhance BWH’s training and orienting of new nurses and to determine how simulation best fits into the educational programming of the Center for Nursing Excellence.
The simulation center pilot ensures new BWH nurses are exposed to consistent, predictable clinical scenarios before they are assigned to their units. “This way, we ensure that everyone gets the same information and practice,” Bradley said. “Otherwise, you may not care for a patient who has a patient-controlled analgesia pump (PCA), and you wouldn’t get to practice on that equipment or engage in clinical decision-making around pain assessment and treatment.”
So far, one group of newly-licensed nurses and two groups of experienced nurses just hired at BWH have benefited from the simulation center. Feedback and evaluations of the simulation faculty model have been extremely positive. “We feel that we have successfully transitioned the faculty model program into simulation,” Greenspan said. “We are in the process of convening an advisory committee of clinical nursing experts to guide us in further programming based on pilot data and the experience of the experts.”
See more photos at www.bwhpikenotes.org/Media/