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Simulating an emergency (WITH GALLERY)

OUS nursing program practices in ER situation

It was a typical shift at the emergency room on a Friday… a couple of patients with chest pain, a guy in need of a catheter, a person with an injured leg and an elderly patient that won’t, or can’t, focus on the doctor. Then things start going sideways, a woman tries to steal the elderly patient’s purse, there’s an overdose happening outside in the parking lot and an overdose happening on the second floor.

Neither of the people who overdosed respond to the Narcan when it is administered and are pronounced dead.

Medical personnel are running everywhere trying to contain the various situations and help people.

While the scenarios were real, the patients and their problems weren’t. It was a simulation at OUS’s Ironton Campus on Friday to teach the juniors in OU’s Bachelor of Nursing program.

The patients were seniors in the program who were told to act as if they had specific ailments to give the juniors training in dealing with patients and no one was really dead or ill.

Maranda Clement, assistant professor of instruction at OU, said the Bachelor of Nursing seniors created the various scenarios for the simulation in one of their clinical judgement classes and spent the past semester to run the simulation of an emergency room.

“This is just a way for the BSN seniors who have been here for four years to impart some of their knowledge to the juniors before they leave,” she said, adding the juniors didn’t know what ailments the “patients” had. “Just like real life, they have to really asses the patient to determine what their actions need to be. When they do clinicals, they have an instructor to guide them so no patient harm happens.

Here, they can kind of be on their own and make decisions on their own. And if something happens, we can learn from that mistake and learn from it, rather than making a mistake with a real patient.”

Beth DeLaney, a professor of nursing at OUS, said the simulation went well.

“I think the juniors did a great job,” she said. “It was a chaotic environment and it is a chaotic environment in real life. They prioritized, they worked well together as a team, they chose appropriate interventions, they were guided well by the BSN students who did well as the patients. I think it went very well.”

OUS has a similar simulation every spring and the nursing program has a lot of smaller classes throughout the year where the nursing students work on high tech mannequins that can simulate various illnesses and students can get practice on inserting an intravenous line.

“The mannequins can talk and they have heart sounds,” Clement said. “But this gives them real interactions with people to really demonstrate if they have the therapeutic communication they need to go out into the real world.”

Many of the students have had a lot of real life interaction with patients since they have been volunteering at the COVID-19 vaccination clinics that the Lawrence County Health Department has been doing for the past couple of months in the South Point Board of Education building.

Clement said the experience is something that most graduating classes have ever experienced.

“It is something they are going to look back on when they are older and really think they got to help to make a difference, to make things better,” she said. “They’ve been here for four years and have done multiple clinics, so they have a really good handle on how to manage patient anxiety. They are very good at it.”