Training Nurses at the SCENE
Jackie McKoy Wolfe ’71 BSN learned firsthand that reading and lectures are only part of the preparation needed by health care professionals. When starting as a nurse at Duke University Medical Center, she occasionally encountered situations she had not rehearsed during her training. Ensuring that future UNCG students are better equipped to face unexpected challenges, Jackie and her husband, Dr. Walter Wolfe, made a significant donation to support UNCG’s Simulation Center for Experiential Nursing Education (SCENE).
“Simulations reinforce what students learn in class and allow them to practice things they may not be able to do in their clinicals because of high-risk,” said Clinical Assistant Professor and Simulation Coordinator Crystal Lamb. “And the goal is to have students ready on day one of their careers.”
Lamb explained that life-threatening situations can be enacted with the nine high-tech mannequins now possessed by the nursing department. With capabilities that range from accepting medication to
bleeding and talking, these models offer very realistic experiences to nursing students.
Additionally, SCENE allows instructors to set up realistic scenarios, such as treating individuals experiencing homelessness and patients with a mental health condition, by way of volunteer actors. While that would be a student-safety concern in clinical rotations, students are expected to lead the simulations.
Spartan of Promise Honoree and School of Nursing Class of 2020 Secretary Ashley Murray acknowledged the importance of this training.
“In my opinion, the best way to learn nursing skills is through simulation and our clinicals,” said Murray. “But with simulation, it’s okay to make mistakes, whereas in clinicals there’s a lot more pressure.”
Juniors and seniors in the nursing program are enrolled in at least one course every semester that participates in a simulated experience. They typically enter the labs in groups of 8-10 and work in pairs to complete given scenarios. Afterward, they debrief on their decisions with their instructors.
“Going through that process helps me gain confidence. I get a lot of my ‘aha’ moments after we sit down and talk about what we did,” stated Murray.
Last year, the School of Nursing graduated more than 300 students, and these numbers will likely continue to rise. With an estimated 75 percent of UNCG alumni choosing to stay in North Carolina, local communities will undoubtedly benefit the most from the University’s efforts to bring innovative strategies to the health care curriculum.
Thankfully, donors like the Wolfes continue to push these endeavors forward.
Story by Brittany Cameron