What to Expect: Nursing Skills and Simulation Lab
When starting the ABSN program at Loyola University Chicago, don’t be surprised if you become anxious or experience sensory overload for a few weeks. It’s perfectly normal to feel this way, and there’s a good chance most of your classmates are right there with you. Just know that as you progress in the program, so will your confidence, which is due in part to our nursing skills and simulation lab exercises.
Skills and simulation labs are vital to your accelerated nursing education, serving as the bridge between your coursework (where you learn the fundamentals and theories of the profession) and clinical rotations (where you gain real-world experience in diverse health-care facilities).
Skills Lab Setup
During your assigned skills lab exercises, you learn how to apply basic procedural skills, such as administering injections or performing physical exams of the ears, eyes, and pelvis.
Equipped with task trainers, full-body manikins, and hospital equipment, our nursing skills lab sets a realistic stage for learning and clinical practice. It’s a place where you can safely hone your skills without the fear of harming a patient.
What are task trainers?
Clinical task trainers teach anatomic landmarks, enabling you to develop the motor skills associated with a specific procedure.
Task trainers also allow instructors to validate your skills prior to performing them on a real person.
Because our skills lab is a safe, controlled environment where instructors view mistakes as learning opportunities, you’re able to calm your fears and really focus on the task at hand, which may include:
- Blood Pressure Monitoring
- Head-to-toe Assessment
- Intramuscular Injections
- Oxygenation Therapy
- Tracheostomy Care
- Wound Care
Furthermore, we host open lab hours where you can come in and practice your skills independently, with peers, or with lab assistants.
Simulation Lab Scenarios
Our diverse simulation lab scenarios further expand your clinical competencies by having you integrate theory with practice while making real-time patient care decisions. It’s a safe contextual learning environment that helps develop your problem-solving and clinical reasoning skills across the continuum of care.
Throughout the ABSN program, you’ll participate in a variety of simulations that support different learning objectives, from performing basic physical assessments to caring for patients with complex needs. Depending on the scenario, you and your peers may find yourselves treating a high-tech simulation manikin that delivers vocal responses, or an actual person specially trained to help you learn, often referred to as a standardized patient.
Through simulation, you’re able to build mental models of particular situations, which develops your capacity to think on your feet as well as allows for an easier transition into the real world. It’s common for students to come back to us and say that our simulation lab exercises helped boost their confidence when working with a real patient for the first time.
Realism without risk
Our simulation manikins promote patient safety by providing you with realistic, risk-free learning opportunities.
Simulation manikins have different features and functions, with the most advanced being able to do pretty much everything a human can do except walk.
The different simulation models our nursing students have access to include the following Laerdal products: Adult SimMan 3G, SimBaby, and SimJunior.
Another unique aspect of nursing simulation is that it supports the different types of student learning styles, from visual to auditory to kinesthetic. You get to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of a patient care environment. So, while the simulation objective is the same for all students, your specific experience might differ from that of your peers.
Through the use of advanced simulation technology, we can take a clinical scenario in a different direction to support your individual learning needs, e.g., make on-the-fly adjustments based on your physical actions and behavioral responses.
At Loyola University Chicago, we use simulation exercises as pure learning opportunities where grading does not exist. Why? Because assigning grades to a simulation would alter the dynamics and intent of the learning exercise. Rather than taking an honest look at the situation, most students would focus on defending their actions.
Following each simulation lab exercise, you and the other students involved in the activity meet with faculty for a debriefing session. During the debriefing, the intent is for you reflect on your simulation experience openly and honestly so that your instructors can best understand your actions and/or approach to the situation. You get to express how you think you did, and then your instructor shares his/her perception of your performance.
Taking someone who has no nursing knowledge and having them graduate from our 16-month ABSN program as a practice-ready nurse involves a complex education process, which includes hands-on learning in state-of-the-art lab environments.
You’ll find the overall goals of our nursing skills and simulation labs are to teach you how to confidently deliver safe, effective patient care while working independently or as part of a team. These realistic learning exercises significantly contribute to patient safety and your success in the real world.
Nursing Lab Locations
If you’re a student in our online-based ABSN program, you’ll complete your nursing skills and simulation labs at our ABSN Learning Center in Downers Grove. If you’re a student in our onsite-based ABSN program, you’ll complete your labs at our Health Sciences Campus in Maywood.
Contact our admissions team to learn more about how our advanced nursing skills and simulation lab exercises contribute to you becoming a standout nurse in today’s complex health-care settings.