Week 2 here we go! After laboring over our online course preparations for the last week, it’s time to get our hands dirty… so to speak (not actually because that would be bad aseptic technique). This week, in our clinical lab techniques class we are reviewing and revising our assessment skills to help cater them to a surgical ward. For those of you who don’t know, a nursing assessment is basically where a nurse does a detailed review of all the major body systems of a patient to observe if anything is abnormal. It’s an essential skill that involves not just taking vitals, but also asking personal questions, inspecting, and listening to parts the pt’s (that’s nursing lingo for a patient) body. It’s essential for pt safety since if something is going wrong, it needs to be recognized before it can be addressed. It also provides us the opportunity to gauge how the pt is recovering, as well as answer any questions and address any concerns the patient my have. To help refresh our assessment skills, since they may have become rusty over the course of the summer, we were given the opportunity to practice our surgical assessment in the Sim lab.
Now, what is the sim lab you may ask? It is a hands-on class/lab where we are able to simulate what it’s like in the hospital. It’s a pretty amazing setup. They have high tech mannequins that not only have blood pressures, pulses, and breath sounds, but also, they are equipped with microphones and can respond and answer questions (Well, not to destroy the magic but it is actually instructors behind one-way glass listening to you and talking to the patient). These mannequins can be equipped with anything from IVs to catheters and can be programmed to have abnormal findings such as crackles in the lungs, or irregular pulses. The thing that is great about the sim lab is that it is non-evaluative meaning we are not graded on our work while there. We are there to learn and make mistakes in a safe environment. After completing our assessments, we have a debriefing session where we can voice our feelings about the scenario, compare findings, and discuss our nursing practice in relation to the scenario.
Although we are not in the sim lab every week, I am grateful for the time that we get to spend in there. After having a chance to dust off my assessment skills, and put into practice the necessary assessment changes required to adapt to a surgical ward, I am feeling more confident about going into the hospital to care for pts this week. At least I know now that I haven’t completely forgotten everything I learned in level one. I must say, I’m still a good combination of terrified and excited for this semester. There is so much to learn and the stakes are high. But all in all, after meeting my instructors last week, I feel like I am in good hands.
To read up on the BCIT sim lab please check out this article.