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Sep
12

Back In the Saddle

Or should I say, back in the sim lab?

We are allowed to get up to 15 capstone hours by preparing for and participating in group simulations in the learning resource center – 5 hours per simulation. Although the sim lab has caused some anxiety in the past, I figured it was a good way to get back into the swing of things before our clinicals start. So four of us signed up to care for a “patient” with a pneumothorax (collapsed lung).

I must say it was the most fun I have ever had in a simulation. The director did the teaching and also played the part of a doctor putting in a chest tube, and we learned so much from her! Two of us went in and did the initial assessment, received lab values and CT results indicating the pnemothorax, and called the physician with an update. Then the next pair came in for “change of shift” and assisted with the chest tube insertion, while my partner and I sat in the control room to play the patient’s voice and control the cameras to get a close-up view of the procedure. So cool!

Since it wasn’t graded or recorded, we could just relax and practice the skills we’ve learned over the past year, get patient and helpful feedback and just feel confident in scrubs again! I really appreciate that they’re taking the time to let us do this. My research group over the summer studied the effects of simulations on student confidence, and anecdotally I can say that I much prefer doing it this way, rather than a graded individual test.

So I have two simulations to go. This coming Thursday we’ll be facing a patient with a pulmonary embolism and they’re going to have the mannequin “arrest” so that we can go through the motions of a code. Since I was involved in a code in peds and felt like a bumbling fool, this will be exceedingly helpful in showing me what I can and should be doing as a nurse.  CPR and First Aid are important classes, but it’s applying what you learn is a whole different ballgame.

Then we get a burn patient on October 15. Not something I expect (or wish) to see in my own practice, but I thought it would be a valuable experience, just in case.

We have our first capstone seminar next Friday…cross your fingers that we get our clinical assignments. We’re all going crazy with anticipation!

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