Radford’s Clinical Simulation Center prepares future nurses even during pandemic

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 11:07 PM EST
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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - With so many programs and trainings running online due to COVID-19, people have been questioning whether students will be ready for real-world scenarios after school.

“They’ll definitely tell you what’s wrong and with the knowledge we’ve learned through class we’re able to fix it on the spot,” said student Zach Blevins.

The students we met Tuesday at Radford University’s Clinical Simulation Center are from New River Community College, training for the real thing with realistic simulation mannequins that can blink, breathe and even have a pulse.

“As much as I would like to be in the hospital as much as possible, that’s just not our situation right now,” said nursing student Hillary Nolan. “We’ve just had to adjust, and that’s what a good nurse does, is adjust to the situation they have.”

Just like the ebb and flow of the job.

“That just adds to the realism of the scenario and what students are going to be experiencing out there in the real world,” said clinical simulation center director Chris Keller.

Keller is helping train the students at this regional site serving Radford, New River, Wytheville, Virginia Western and Patrick Henry Community Colleges.

“We have helped to fill in that gap and still continue to give them direct clinical care hours through simulation,” Keller said. “This has been a sure thing that we have been able to keep going and keep moving forward and offer this clinical experience.”

Staff is constantly standing by, calling the shots of what the mannequin will do, creating a different experience for the students every time.

“Every time that we come in and see a new patient, it is giving us an opportunity for something to get our nerves out, because we are going to see these patients in these same scenarios when we get into the real world,” said nursing student Corinna Hill.

“The community shouldn’t be worried; we have awesome nurses coming through Radford and New River Community College,” Nolan said. “We’ll be able to take care of our community members.”

The simulation center was the first-of-its-kind in the commonwealth.

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