RADFORD, Va. -

When it comes to better patient care, critics say there's always room for improvement.

A group of students in the nursing program at Radford University say they're learning to walk in their future patients' shoes.

Nikki Paculan is a fourth-year nursing student at RU. We caught her as she was putting on specialty gloves that intentionally cause uncontrollable tremors.

'"Oh oh, yeah it's tingling," says Paculan. "It feels like my hands fell asleep sort of."

It takes a few minutes to put on what's called a GERT. The gerontologic test suit costs about $4,000 and this year's nursing students at Radford University are the first to use it.

"Oh my gosh, I'm terrified right now," says Paculan.

Students also put on a neck brace, a body suit, weighted ankle wraps, goggles, ear plugs and gloves that cause uncontrollable tremors.

The very last piece of equipment is a sucker in the students mouth. Why, because it may help future nurses like Sarah Gray, understand stroke victims.

"A lot of times these people start drooling and you're in public even younger people, older people, geriatric patients can be really embarrassing," says Gray.

When these future nurses put on the full-body wrap, it allows them to feel what some older patients go through every day.

Assistant nursing professor Katie Katz says buying the GERT made sense.

"They did a research study about taking a walk in someone else's shoes and they found that using this suit helped increase empathy and compassion, which is one of the reasons why we wanted to make it part of something we included in our curriculum here at Radford University," says Katz.

Thick goggles distort what these future nurses can see. And with their arm in a sling and only one good eye, students are learning to be more patient with their patients.

Studies show America's population is getting older. Critics say having medical professionals who understand those aches and limitations could help.