Practice makes perfect: Nurses to-be study in simulation lab

( SAN ANTONIO — A new multi-million dollar simulation lab in San Antonio is training the next generation of nurses.

Nursing is a challenging, fast-paced, important and in-demand career. But future RNs and LVNs don’t train first on actual patients.

Students train in labs like the new $3.5 million simulation lab at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Nursing.
“The students are excited about learning in a different way,” said Eileen T. Breslin, PhD, RN, FAAN and the dean of the UTHSC School of Nursing. “And it makes the passion of nursing become real clear.”
“It’s also going to be a learning laboratory to think about how do we create new interventions that are going to make a difference in people’s lives,” she added.
Nursing student Leslie Mueller, 28, is working to become a surgical intensive care nurse. She said realistic simulation is helpful.
“It helps you connect the dots more,” Mueller observed. “So then whenever you see a patient for the first time, it’s not the first time you’re going to see the situation or the equipment.”
“It’s beautiful,” Mueller said of the new lab. “And it’s very lifelike. All the equipment is very much like you’d see in a hospital.”
There is also a home health section complete with a man in an armchair and his dog.
A pregnancy simulator can even deliver a baby.
The lab covers 7,281 square feet. The scenarios the nursing students practice will seem real.
“What we’ve done is really try and building something that will mimic as close to a hospital environment as possible,” Breslin stated.
The ribbon cutting for the new nursing simulation lab is Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The UTHSC School of Nursing has 800 student each year who will be using it.