Elmira College simulators give students hands-on experience

Local News

ELMIRA, NY (WETM) – The pandemic had made it difficult for nurses to get in-person experience in hospitals. Elmira College has made use of simulators to give their students hands-on experience.

“What it does… is it allows us to allow them to make mistakes,” said Colleen Parsons, MSRN Elmira College simulation lab coordinator.

Nationally, applications to nursing schools are rising. This paired with increasing staffing shortages does not fair well for nursing programs.

“There are very huge staffing shortages…, [one pediatric teacher] was called in over the weekend to pull to 12-hour shifts because they’re so short, it’s a real problem,” said Parsons.

In the U.S. enrollment in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral nursing programs increased 5.6% in 2020,
driven by what educators say are young people who see the global emergency as an opportunity and a challenge.

“The pandemic did not deter me at all from wanting to become a nurse,” said Calinda Ceterski, a senior in the Elmira College Nursing program. “It kind of inspired me more, watching future colleagues and peers going through it.”

All nurses need hands-on practice hours in order to graduate, but the pandemic has made it difficult to get placements for students.

“The hospitals were not exactly thrilled about having nursing students and with them, on top of everything else that was going on for them,” said Parsons.

At Elmira College, they have a patient simulator that can give students valuable experience that they might not even be able to get at a hospital.

“We have a simulator that actually gives birth… so our students are able to deliver babies where they would never be able to deliver a baby in a hospital situation,” said Parsons.

For pediatrics, their simulator named Andy can even simulate lifelike emotions

“The mannequin turns into a real patient, for them… They make direct eye contact, they touch the patient, just like they would a real person. so it’s fabulous,” said Parsons.

Students are grateful for the experience.

“Without having the opportunity to SIM [simulation] and without getting into the hospital, I feel like that would have greatly, greatly impacted my education,” said Ceterski. “Having a SIM here is only to benefit us and we only grow from it and learn from it.”

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