Nursing Simulation Center Provides Unique Training Opportunities

Nursing Sim CenterElevated heart rate. Respiratory rate is elevated. Capillary refill is decreased and there is gastrointestinal illness. What happens next?


While the average person may not know the next step, TWU Nursing students are well prepared, thanks in part to the brand new Simulation Center at the TWU-Fort Sanders School of Nursing at the University’s west Knoxville instructional site.


Nursing students complete 945 clinical hours as a part of the bachelor’s in nursing, and the Simulation Center uses state-of-the-art Lifecast mannequins and technology to spend a small portion of those hours in the safety of a practice environment.


“The Simulation Center is used as an adjunct to our clinicals,” said coordinator Dr. Vickie Battershell. “It is designed to help nursing students go in and experience a real-life type scenario, so that they are allowed to make mistakes with a mannequin and learn from those mistakes in that safety, before they go out and attempt to provide care to real patients.”


TWU Faculty, working together with Dr. Battershell, create common scenarios for students in the Simulation Center, like the pediatric hypovolemia situation mentioned above. Students can then step into the scenario and anticipate what labs or fluids will be ordered from the physician and proceed with intervention.


“The Board of Nursing actually allows up to 50% of clinicals to be substituted with simulation, but because of our unique relationship with Fort Sanders Regional, we are not in dire straits for clinical hours, which is why we can use it as an adjunct. It is the cherry on top,” added Dr. Battershell.


The Simulation Center currently houses four mannequins, a geriatric female named Vivian, a toddler named Sid, a newborn named Sam and an African-American male named Carl. Vivian and Carl are named after the persons they were “life cast” from, and Sam and Sid were named by the TWU Nursing students.


Additionally, Echo Lab, which produces the mannequins, has approached TWU about beta testing their OB mannequin prototype.


With phases 1 and 2 of the Simulation Center now complete, the TWU Faculty turn their attention to the next step this coming summer and fall, including new classrooms, a new tech room, and the implementation of the iSimulate program.


iSimulate uses iPads to monitor patients just like in a hospital situation, with Dr. Battershell able to control scenarios with the tap of a finger. Using her own iPad, she can change the simulation, adding another level to the situational practice already in place.


All of these tools, combined with TWU’s relationship with Fort Sanders Regional, allow nursing students to receive the most outstanding preparation for their future career. Together with classroom preparation and clinicals, the Simulation Center is helping empower the next generation of nurses to provide outstanding care to their patients.


Learn more about the TWU-Fort Sanders School of Nursing.