There are currently over 60 students enrolled in Huntington University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, with 43 of those being juniors and seniors who spend many hours doing practical studies to prepare them for future jobs. To these students, the basement level has been and will be a second home to them in their time here at HU.
Since summer 2017, what once was the computer lab for nursing students has been remodeled, and what now sits in its place is truly a blessing. A room that was once filled with desktops, desks and chairs now houses three fully equipped hospital rooms. These rooms are an Obstetrics room, a clinical care room and pediatrics and medical surgery procedure room.
Before these rooms, nursing students doing practical work were expected to perform authentic medical procedures and tactics on their mannequin “patients” in an environment that was not very reflective of the real world of a nurse.
Diana Shenefield, director and associate professor of nursing, explains this by saying the previous set-up involved the nursing faculty helping the students with their procedures.
“I think we were helping them too much,” Shenefield said.
Before the renovations, the equipment, tools and medication that students needed for specific practicals were laid out for them beforehand.
With this change of space, students now have access to supply closets and storage spaces that resemble their future work environments.
“They are given more responsibility as they now have to think ahead [about] what they will need for particular patients and situations,” Shenefield said.
Along with the rooms, which were donated by Fetters Construction, the department will also be receiving new simulated mannequins, courtesy of donations from the Parkview Huntington Hospital and the Huntington Community Foundation.
These mannequins are designed to help fuel a realistic medical environment for the practicing students. One of the two mannequins that they will be receiving this semester is a female to simulate childbirth.
The mannequin gives birth and is complete with most bodily functions, such as dilation and bleeding. It will be controlled by professors who supervise from behind a two-way mirror.
Shenefield expressed that one of the most significant impacts these renovations and improvements will have on the students is the improvement of their mindset towards their nursing careers.
“It’s [students] being able to feel comfortable and confident when they begin working with real patients in a hospital because they have been in this setting before,” she said.
In addition to improving the quality of hands-on education and practice that students in the BSN program have, Shenefield, hopes that having these rooms, simulations and unique opportunities will increase enrollment as perspective nursing students will be able to see what HU has to offer in preparation for a career as demanding and experience-based as nursing.
Junior nursing major Robert Black said the mannequins are great for the department and for a student “like myself” who learns from more of hands-on experience.
“I will be better prepared for my clinical rotation on an OB floor,” Black said. “I’m so excited to see a mannequin give birth! And the hospital rooms give us a realistic setting to practice our skills each day in. It’s been pretty cool!”
Shenefield said nursing students spend their time in the science hall working hard in order to be prepared to care for the patients.
“Many compare what we do to what pilots do — all that simulation,” she said. “We practice, we crash [and] we make the mistakes here so that when it comes to the real deal, our students will know how to react.”