Simulation Training - Center for Clinical Simulation at Marquette University - Ascension Wisconsin

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Simulation Training

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Center for Clinical Simulation at Marquette University Helps Nurses & Others Gain Competency in Complex Clinical Scenarios

Dee Cha, RN, BSN, is a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - St. Francis. While she had two years of nursing under her belt in the cardiac telemetry unit, transferring to the ICU meant she faced a variety of new situations with patients in critical condition. To support her transition, Dee was part of special training targeted at new critical care nurses at the Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Center for Clinical Simulation at Marquette University.

“I’m more of a hands-on learner, so I like the simulations much better than the other online training I’ve been doing.”

Working in partnership with the simulation faculty at Marquette, a Wheaton Clinical Development team designed high fidelity simulations to strengthen the novice nurses’ early recognition and response to signs and symptoms in various critical care patient populations. The simulation lab creates a safe environment for learning where unfamiliar diagnoses, symptom management and skills can be practiced under the guidance of experienced critical care clinical development coordinators. 

Over two days of training at Marquette, Dee has participated in scenarios involving a patient who had a heart attack and a neurology patient who had respiratory problems and had to be intubated. Shortly after her training sessions at Marquette, Dee had a similar situation with a real patient. She shares, “I was still nervous but I felt more prepared and confident as I approached the situation.”

The simulation center opened in the fall of 2012 on Marquette’s School of Nursing and includes a six-bed hospital with two intensive care rooms, two medical surgical rooms, one pediatric/neonatal intensive care unit, and one labor and delivery suite, two provider offices, a home health/long-term care apartment, and three skills labs with various levels of technology. A key component of the training takes place in the debrief rooms where professors and clinical educators review video recordings of simulation exercises with participants.

As Education Manager for clinical simulation and emergency care training at Wheaton, Lynne Delfosse BSN, RN, sees firsthand the benefits of this approach to training.

“As we work with Wheaton nurses in the new center, I can just see the wheels turning and their confidence building. Being intuitive comes with life experience as well as being in the clinical setting. Training in the simulation center speeds up that transition from school to the advanced critical thinking required on the job.”

Training in clinical simulation labs is now established as the best practice for preparing for care at the bedside, especially high risk situations that don’t occur regularly. This is a way for our nurses, doctors and others to come as close to the actual experience as possible. The use of clinical simulation has a positive impact on patient safety, clinical excellence and clinical outcomes because the novice nurses have had the opportunity to critically think through various patient diagnoses in simulation that reflect real life patients. Strengthening clinical reasoning skills is a win-win for patients, families and the health care team.  

The use of simulation training is also helping to address the nursing shortage allowing Marquette’s College of Nursing to increase the size of each freshman class by 25 percent.

By the year 2025, the national nursing shortage is projected to grow to between 260,000 to 1 million registered nurses. Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare is proud to partner with Marquette in making this advanced training opportunity possible.  

But for Dee Cha, it’s all about building her confidence at the bedside. “Going through this training helped me realize I can trust myself and what I know when challenging situations arise,” she remarks.  

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