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Reality and high risk

The new $4 million state-of-the-art simulation center provides a virtual hospital setting for nursing students.

“Beep.” The sound of a monitor recording a patient’s heartbeat breaks the quiet. “Swoosh.” Sliding doors admit nursing staff to the intensive care unit. Only the patients in the new Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Center for Clinical Simulation at Marquette are different from those treated in a hospital.

Marquette’s patients are high-tech, high-fidelity simulators that cost between $50,000 and $100,000 each. They breathe, talk, perspire, bleed, go into cardiac arrest and can be programmed to simulate giving birth.

The 10,000-square-foot simulation center that opened in September allows nursing students to practice clinical skills in a realistic hospital setting. Located in Emory Clark Hall, the center includes two intensive care rooms, two medical/surgical rooms, one pediatric room and one labor and delivery suite, a home health apartment and more.

Clinical simulation is particularly valuable in preparing students for infrequent, high-risk situations, says College of Nursing Dean Margaret Faut Callahan. “We could have our students in a clinical environment 24 hours a day, seven days a week for their entire undergraduate career, and they still may not see some of these high-risk scenarios that they need to be educated for,” she says.

Updating the college’s outdated simulation center was an essential step in realizing the reimagined prelicensure curriculum, with its focus on improving students’ clinical reasoning skills in situations involving patients of various ages in a range of health care settings. Simulated clinical scenarios are embedded into courses at all levels. With the new curriculum and simulation center, the college increased the size of its freshman class to 120 students.

The new facility was funded by Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare and other College of Nursing benefactors. WFHC will use the facility for interdisciplinary team training with a goal of reducing clinical errors and increasing patient safety. LCS


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