UACCB receives first Nursing Anne Simulator in U.S.

The University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville has added a new tool to its state-of-the-art simulation lab to enhance the learning experience for nursing students. The college is the first in the country to receive a Nursing Anne Simulator, which is designed specifically for nursing education.

Elizabeth Anderson, UACCB simulation coordinator, said UACCB’s nursing program is being revised to follow the standards of best practices set by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) and the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL). “Nursing Anne will help us in our goal of being aligned with these standards,” Anderson said. “This simulator provided hands-on skills training that nursing students don’t get from lectures and exams. Simulation provides consistent clinical experiences that might not otherwise be available. Nursing Anne will also reinforce our focus on patient quality and safety in the undergraduate setting.”

According to Laerdal’s website, the company that produces the Nursing Anne Simulator, nursing students can “safely and realistically practice core nursing skills from basic assessments and critical thinking to advance interventions.” The Nursing Anne Simulator supports training in fundamentals of nursing, pharmacology, health assessment, medical-surgical, mental health, nurse orientation and annual competencies. The simulator can be used in training scenarios involving medication administration, hygiene, skin integrity and wound care, patient handling, nutrition, resuscitation and much more.

“The Nursing Anne Simulator is unique to our product line. It’s unlike anything we’ve had before,” said Toni Griffin, client executive with Laerdal. “This simulator was designed and built specifically for nursing programs. The direction of nursing has changed over the years, so simulation needs to do the same thing. Laerdal felt it was important to stay and step ahead to be able to prepare nurses for the real world. That’s what simulation does. It provides a safe environment for nursing students to practice core competencies so they can enter their field comfortably and confidently.”

The Nursing Anne Simulator was purchased with funds received from the 2016-2017 Perkins Postsecondary Reserve Funds. There were 57 requests from 20 institutions across the state for funds. UACCB received $58,200 in reserve funds, which were used to purchase the Nursing Anne Simulator and additional simulation equipment.

“I would like to applaud our nursing faculty and staff for their diligence in securing funds to purchase the Nursing Anne Simulator. The value to learning with this simulator is immeasurable.  I am confident the addition of the Nursing Anne Simulator along with other improvements to our simulation program will enhance our nursing and allied health programs and help make our students better care providers,” said Brian Shonk, vice chancellor for academics

Payton Howell, simulation operations technician, said he believes students will greatly benefit from the addition of the new simulator. Howell is pursuing a STEM degree at UACCB and plans to become a physician.

“I’ve learned so much just from working in the simulation lab,” Howell said. “If I can learn this much from an outsider’s perspective, I can only imagine how much students in the nursing program are gaining from their simulation training.”

Anderson added that the National Council State Board of Nursing had also approved that simulation training could be substituted for up to 50% of clinical requirements for nursing students. Anderson hopes to continue to expand the simulation program to include real life actors, referred to as simulated patients, who are trained to portray patients in realistic and repeatable ways. She is applying for a grant through the Blue & You Foundation. The grant is based on the Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) standards of best practices and would provide funds for participants who would serve as simulated patients.

“We conducted a pilot test of the utilization of simulated patients with a volunteer, Eddie Woodruff, who portrayed a COPD patient admitted for pneumonia. The students loved the experience and the Simulation Design Scale Evaluations, which are required after every simulation experience, greatly improved from an average of three to all fives on a scale of one to five,” Anderson said. “We used Skype to view the students’ experience with Mr. Woodruff as the patient from another room so it could be as realistic as possible for everyone.”