Undergraduates in the Rory Meyers College of Nursing spend half of their clinical training hours in hospitals and the other half in NYU’s 10,000-square-foot Clinical Simulation Learning Center, which is equipped with computerized “manikins” that have realistic features such as blinking eyes with pupils that react to light, palpable pulses, and the ability to simulate normal and abnormal heart and lung sounds.
The manikins have pre-programmed states for different scenarios, but an instructor in the control room can also adjust their vital signs on the fly in order to have them respond realistically to student interventions. Instructors use voice modulation software to speak in the roles of patients of all different genders and ages—including children—and the CSLC also employs live actors who have been trained to portray patients. There are even pregnant manikins that allow students to experience simulations of birth.
“The great thing about simulations is that, in a safe, standardized learning environment, students can make errors without being judged or hurting anyone,” says CSLC Director of Simulation Learning Natalya Pasklinsky. The simulations, she explains, also give students an opportunity to learn how to respond to relatively rare situations—such as a bad reaction to a blood transfusion—that they might not otherwise encounter during their clinical training.
“In debriefing we reflect on what went on during the simulation, and that’s where the ‘aha’ moments and real opportunities to use critical thinking come in for the students,” Paslinsky says. “We simulate high-urgency situations so that students learn how to intervene even when they’re under stress. If your patient is not doing well, you need to have some background experience in your pocket.”
Cool Course Dispatches
From analyzing metaphorical monsters to studying robotics, our students are getting hands-on experience—in and outside the classroom.