Nursing students get a leg up

Christmas came early this year for University of Calgary faculty of nursing students due to a generous gift of $40,000 from the Students’ Union campus improvement fund. The money was used to purchase new equipment in order to enhance the learning experience of nursing students.

SU faculty representative for nursing Jenna Baumgartner initiated the process when she submitted a proposal to the SU in March for funds to purchase the much needed equipment.

“The faculty [of nursing] needs more simulation resources,” said Baumgartner. “Students need more practice time and need a safe environment.”

According to Baumgartner all nursing students will have access to the new equipment and will be able to sign out the equipment beginning this semester. Baumgartner also said the new technology provides numerous benefits.

“Students get that much more chance to practice,” she said. “You get to integrate the theory and the skill in more realistic relationships.”

Director of Nursing Resources and Simulation Centre Leanne Wyrostok also emphasized the many benefits for students.

“It will enrich their experience because the technology is state of the art,” said Wyrostok. “Mistakes may be made, corrected and discussed in a risk-free lab environment.”

The new equipment includes a Virtual IV, which is a simulator for training intravenous catheterization, a Stryker Stretcher, to teach students to move patients from a stretcher to a bed, and a Noelle Birthing Model, which is a mannequin-type simulator for childbirth.

“These tools will allow our students to perform invasive procedures without risk to each other or to patients,” said Wyrostok. “With the technology we can more closely mimic events or situations that students may or may not have exposure to in the clinical area.”

Wyrostok stressed the new technology will augment existing teaching methods, and further equip students to handle the challenges of a rapidly changing health care system, in a safe and efficient manner. Students will be able to respond real-time to predetermined clinical scenarios in order to improve their critical thinking abilities and further refine their clinical skills and judgement.

According to Wyrostok, the faculty of nursing is planning to add to the equipment already purchased and is hoping to purchase additional sophisticated technology within the year.

“The purchase of this technology sends a positive message that we value innovative teaching methods for student learning,” she said.

For now, nursing students will be able to enjoy the new equipment for which Baumgartner advocated, while the faculty of nursing works towards its goal of educating a more confident and competent professional nurses.

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