Edinboro nursing getting new pediatric simulator

Category:  News
Thursday, February 25th, 2021 at 9:25 PM

“Our simulations are our safe place … they’re definitely one of the best experiences the nursing program has.” These words, spoken by senior nursing major Morgan Scott, describe how important simulators are for nursing students: they provide a risk-free environment where students can practice caring for patients.

Thanks to a $35,000 grant written by nursing professors Dr. Victoria Hedderick and Dr. Terri Astorino, the department is set to receive a new pediatric simulator by end of the semester.

The funds were awarded as part of the Phillips Charitable Express Grant. According to their website, the Phillips Charitable Foundation grants funds primarily to humanitarian and educational projects.

Edinboro already has pediatric simulators — one full-body doll, and one top half of a body — but the new one will be a big upgrade. First, the current devices are at the end of their lifespans, according to Astorino. Senior nursing major Madi Nuhfer explained that, with the current ones, “You can’t interact with them, and they don’t respond like a patient would.” Scott added: “I don’t think you can even hear a heartbeat on it. On our other mannequin, we can hear heartbeats, we can feel movement. Our other mannequins cry, they sweat, we can feel their pulses. The [current] one doesn't do any of that.”

The state of disrepair that the current simulators are in played a large factor in looking into the grant in the first place. Astorino explained that simulators are an important part of the learning process for nursing majors, especially pediatric ones: “they provide students the opportunity to practice the critical thinking skills and technical skills that are necessary to care for a live pediatric patient.”

The new simulator has a multitude of functions that will allow nursing majors to practice a variety of skills. Astorino ran down a list of these functions: “it has all its physiological capabilities — breathing, lung sounds, heart sounds, all the vital signs. You can even do finger sticks for a blood sugar check if the patient would be a diabetic. It does all kinds of stuff; we can do countless clinical patient scenarios, so they can practice on pediatric patients with a wide variety of medical problems.”

Astorino explained that it’s difficult for the nursing students to find opportunities to practice on pediatric patients within the area because there’s a limited in-patient population. Nuhfer expanded further: “we don’t get to interact with a lot of pediatric patients because nurses are so protective of that population in the hospital; they’re a little [careful] about students going in there and assessing the children that are sick. And for good reason — it’s a very vulnerable population.”

These simulators are designed to help educate students on conditions they may or may not see in the hospital, but conditions they need to be knowledgeable and competent about nonetheless when they get out into the real world.

As excited as the nursing department is for the simulator, it has yet to arrive. Astorino explained that “it’s in process: it’s actually being assembled now.” The company that is responsible for creating the simulator, Gaumard, specializes in these devices, and Astorino is hopeful the finished product will come in “any day now.”

While the simulator will be gifted to the nursing department as a whole, some classes will find more use in it than others, namely the pediatric and fundamental nursing courses. Other classes will still be able to use the simulator to do head-to-toe assessments in regard to the pediatric population. It can be used in all kinds of courses.

The nursing department is eagerly awaiting the new simulator’s arrival. Both Nuhfer and Scott agreed that simulations allow students time to grow more comfortable, confident and competent in their own abilities.

Hazel Modlin is the Executive Editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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