‘Polishing their skills’: Simulation adds reality to nurse conference

(The Town Talk) Senior nursing students at Louisiana College did some teaching of their own on Thursday, leading a simulation for a group of occupational nurses.

“We provide a scenario,” said Stacy Mayeux, assistant professor of nursing at LC. “They can practice skills in a safe environment.”

Thursday’s skit included a migrant worker who spoke little English presenting with heat stress symptoms.

“We try to make it as real as we can,” Mayeux said. “We do simulations in the program, but this is the first time to present to occupational health nurses. We want to make this available.”

Nursing students Anna Bernal and Tatiana Sywak played the worker and her fictitious boss’ wife, who brought her to a rural occupational health clinic and helped translate.

Fellow students Lauren Stemper and Andrea Neri served as nurses, botching the scenario at first to show the wrong way to address the situation.

“It’s safer for the student and safer for the patient if we practice it first,” said Sarita James, assistant professor of nursing at LC.

Mayeux said purposefully making mistakes segues into lessons on how to debrief and communicate with fellow staff at occupational health clinics.

About 25 nurses that work in an occupational health setting, like RoyOMartin or Dow Chemical, attended the simulation demo at LC as part of the Louisiana Occupational Health Nurse Conference being hosted in Pineville.

“They’re already registered nurses,” Mayeux said. “They’re just polishing their skills.”

The three-day conference provides continuing education credit for its attendants.

Tammi Barrilleaux, a nurse at Dow Chemical in Plaquemine, said topics covered “a little bit of everything,” including physical assessments and debriefing at LC.

Barrilleaux said she and her fellow nurses attend conferences like this one to further their education.

“We did one last year, but never one in a setting like this,” Barrilleaux said, referencing LC’s simulation lab. “It’s interesting.”