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IRONTON — Nursing students from Ohio University Southern participated in an emergency room simulation to test their knowledge and skills related to medicine and how they handle patient and family member reactions on Friday, April 23.

Senior nursing students at the OUS Ironton campus created patient profiles and conditions for their junior classmates to assess and treat as one of their final simulations before the semester ends.

Maranda Clement, an assistant professor of instruction in nursing, said the simulation is for students to test what they have learned without the risk of hurting someone if they make a mistake.

“It’s a really good situation for them, because when they go out and care for patients, there’s always that worry that they’ll do something wrong or make a mistake,” Clement said.

“In this environment, it’s OK for them to make a mistake. Yes, they push the wrong meds, they thought it was one disease when it’s actually another. Then at the end we have learned and we’ve talked about it. In nursing, when you make a mistake, you never make that same mistake again, so making those mistakes here prevents them from making it out there with actual real patients.”

During this simulation, senior students played the parts of “patients” and patient family members. While this type of simulation happens every year, the seniors get to choose what conditions the patients come in with, making each year different.

Senior nursing student Jackie Parsons said these patient profiles are created throughout the semester by the seniors with some assistance from faculty members. They get to choose what illnesses are present and create hypothetical charts including the patients’ medical information.

The simulation gives seniors a chance to put everything they have learned together.

“We’ve used the fundamentals, med surge (medical-surgical nursing), pharmacology and all of it really, and we have created a simulation case study for them that we’ve worked on all semester,” Parsons said. “We have figured out the labs, the medications that they will need and we have basically structured it for today to run the BSN (bachelor of science in nursing) juniors through it.”

Parsons said the seniors also know how far the juniors are in their education, so they can be sure to give them scenarios that they have at some point been taught how to treat.

This year’s simulation included patients having issues with leg pain, symptoms of diabetes, a thyroid issue as well as two people portraying overdosing on opioids. While one of the patients came in because they had begun to feel overdose symptoms, another had simulated an overdose outside and the nurses had to respond quickly to assist them.

Clement said the seniors chose to include this scenario because in the real world, this area does see opioid overdoses and nurses should know how to respond.

“The students chose to include it just because we have such a big issue in this area, we see a lot of patients and they see a lot of patients out in different settings experiencing overdose,” Clement said. “So it was something they feel like is needed to be addressed and they need to be given more information on.”

With all of the cases, nurses had to assess and decide which patients could be treated in the emergency room and discharged and which patients had to be admitted for further examination. Patients even carried mannequin arms in case the nurses had to insert an intravenous fluid drip (IV) to keep them hydrated or give medicine.

Parsons said she had fun preparing the simulation and enjoyed watching the nurses use their knowledge to assess all of the patients. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Parsons and her senior classmates were not able to be the nurses for their own simulation last year, and she said she wish they had.

Clement said the simulation was a good opportunity for the students to get together and work together before the semester ends, and they seemed to enjoy the simulation.

“I think this is something, especially right now with the pandemic going on, that is huge for the students to be able to come to campus, be together and be able to really experience something that is more real life and in such a safe environment.”

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