Simulation lab creates innovative, collaborative learning experience for health professions students

Carrie Hobbs was clearly confused – too confused to understand she was in the hospital and experiencing a serious health condition: heart failure.

 “We need to get your breathing under control. We’re going to help you with that,” Carrie’s nurse told her while readjusting her blankets and waiting calmly as a pharmacist calculated an adjustment to Carrie’s diuretic medicine.

But Carrie’s life wasn’t really at risk. After all, this was just an exercise. And Carrie was a patient simulator. But that didn’t lessen the importance of the students’ work.

This is the Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions’ Simulated Health Center – a 12-room facility that replicates real-world scenarios in a hospital, clinic or at home. The facility, recently renovated and tripled in size, enables instructors and students outside the room to observe during the exercise. The scenario also can be recorded for later review.

“It’s a good way to practice in a safe environment without having real consequences,” said Annie Howard, a student in the accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

The simulation lab also illustrates the college’s growing emphasis on interprofessional education. Work is underway to identify and create more learning opportunities that bring together students from across the college’s different disciplines.

Ultimately, the shift is about continuing to position students to move patient care forward, said Sue Scherer, associate dean and chairwoman of the college’s interprofessional education committee.

“Improving patient care today and in the future will require different health professions to work together,” she said. “Having these collaborative experiences as students is critical if they are to function as effective teams in clinical practice.”

 Learn how Regis University can position you to help move health care forward.