"Active learning is the future of nursing education," said Chabot College Nursing Program Director Connie Telles, DNP, RNC-OB. Using the latest teaching methods has been a catalyst for success in the college's nursing program. For the past five years, Chabot College students have achieved a 95-100 percent first time pass rate on the national licensing exam.
In 2011, Telles transformed a former computer room into a high-tech, wireless Simulation Laboratory- "sim lab" for short. It looks like a multi-purpose hospital room with two beds, a bassinet, and all the latest hospital equipment. Simulation lab "patients" are life-size, high fidelity manikins with computers as internal organs. "They have a heart rate. They breathe. Their chests rise. They can bleed. They can deliver a baby," Telles explained. They also have a price tag of about $50,000 each, but are priceless for simulation a real-life experience for nursing students.
Currently, the simulation lab is populated with a busy family of four: Noelle the birthing manikin, Baby Hal, 5-year-old Hal, and simulation Man Essential (Sim Man). while nursing students perform learning scenarios, instructors in a control room observe from behind a two-way mirror, using computers to remotely manipulate the activity and vital signs of the manikins. The exercises require role play and reflect the drama and crisis scenarios in any hospital, including a labor and delivery room.
We can make a newborn's lips turn blue and the students will need to take appropriate action. One of the students will play the role of a nervous family member and another student will need to calm that person using appropriate communication. The students do all the work. This is hands-on learning that approximates real-life situations," Dr. Telles explained.
During a scenario, other nursing students watch the exercise on a video monitor in the debriefing room. Next, it will be their turn in the simulation lab. Each group watches its own exercise and critiques it; students discuss how they performed during the simulation and review what they have learned. "We all sit down and talk about the scenario," said Telles. "Our goal is to increase our student success."