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Collaboration Provides Essential Preparation for Nurses

Collaboration Provides Essential Preparation for Nurses

By Carol (Knight '81, MA '08) Best

How can nursing students gain lifelike experience to prepare them for real-life situations but without risk to potential patients? MNU’s Patient Simulation labs—equipped with lifelike mannequins that respond to stimuli—and other high-tech medical equipment allow MNU students to be immersed in a variety of situations they will encounter as nurses. 

At the same time, licensed nurses in MNU’s Master of Science in nursing program need experience teaching and guiding students as they learn to become nurse leaders and educators. 

Enter a brand new collaboration last semester between MSN students and traditional undergraduate BSN students. Utilizing High Fidelity Simulation, students gained clinical experience at the highest level of realism without risking the safety of a real patient. In the scenario, MSN students provided undergrads with the simulation of a hospital obstetrical and neonatal unit. In the Virtual Patient Center, undergraduate students performed the role of registered nurses, developing both nursing skills and critical thinking skills. Their “patients” were a woman giving birth and her baby requiring special neonatal intensive care. 

Kyndra Zeigler, a 2014 BSN graduate, found the simulation made her more confident about the transition to working as a nurse.

“Simulation is a great learning opportunity,” Zeigler says. “First we learn in the classroom; then we apply it in simulation. Going through the steps of what I would do in an emergency situation in simulation helps better prepare me for real-life situations in a hospital.”

MNU is one of the few nursing schools that can provide this unique experience for students because it has two virtual patient centers and a Master of Science in nursing program. Many programs might have the simulation centers but not the graduate-level component. 

Joanne McDermott, PhD, associate professor of nursing, says MSN students gain valuable experience in the role of the educator.

“Human Patient Simulation is essential to prepare MSN students in strategies that promote best practice in both education and in preparing student nurses to become safe, effective practitioners in a complex health care system,” McDermott says.

Kimberley Brownlee, assistant professor of nursing, applauds the progress she observes in MNU’s senior-level traditional BSN students.

“The most phenomenal result in this particular simulation is actually ‘seeing’ the shift in our traditional students from ‘student nurses’--relying heavily on instructor guidance--to a team of professional novice ‘nurses.’ The demonstration of effective communication, collaboration, and teamwork with a group of professional MSN students provided excellent care for critically ill ‘patients,’” Brownlee says.

For more information on the MSN program at MNU visit

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Winter 2019

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