“Jake Bernard’s” vitals are quickly dropping. The 20-year-old was recovering from an appendectomy and was in stable condition when the nursing team arrived. Now his oxygen levels and heart rate are rapidly decreasing, and the nurses only have a short window of time to figure out what’s wrong.
“Can we administer Narcan?” One nurse asks, suspecting the patient could have taken some form of opioid unbeknownst to the staff. It’s a great catch for a nurse inexperienced in the U.S.’s high rate of drug abuse and overdoses. Luckily for these nurses, Jake isn’t an actual patient. He’s a simulation mannequin at Florida Atlantic University’s Clinical Skills Simulation Center. Jake can’t die or even feel for that matter, but he’s providing valuable training and experience to these foreign-educated nurses about to be deployed on assignment at healthcare facilities across the United States.
Pathway To Success
“We want to set them up for success,” said Patty Jeffrey, Executive Vice President, International Operations, MedPro International, and President of the American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment (AAIHR). “The Clinical Skills Simulation Center provides nurses a safe environment to familiarize themselves with U.S. equipment and protocols.” MedPro, the industry leader in the international recruitment, training, and staffing of foreign-educated healthcare professionals, brings nurses to FAU’s simulation center each month for four straight days of clinical simulation training in addition to classroom and clinical training at MedProU®.
Valentina Clemente, originally from Italy, worked in London before accepting an assignment through MedPro International. “The simulation training is very helpful. If I get a cardiac arrest, I feel prepared to administer care,” said Clemente.
Clinical Simulation Center
The 15,000-square-foot facility has 16 simulation rooms and 20 mannequins representing adult male and female, pediatric, neonatal, and obstetrics birthing patients. Hospital, patient examination, and emergency rooms are fully equipped with beds, exam tables, monitors, IV poles, defibrillators, simulated oxygen ports, and other tools to respond to simulated medical interventions and emergencies. Nurses review Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), and electrocardiogram scenarios in the classroom before performing CPR, using defibrillators, and administering medications on life-like mannequins.
Rachell Muriithii, from Nairobi, Kenya, has an assignment at an ICU in Atlanta. “They have a pulse, their pupils dilate. It feels realistic. The simulation helps us see what could happen, and when it does happen in real life, we’ll be more effective and prepared to deliver quality care.”
“Some of these nurses may not have had the same responsibilities in their home country as they will on the job here in the U.S.,” said Anthony Scaramellino, PMD, Academic Specialist at the CSSC. The facility provides nurses with a stress-free environment to learn. “The growth from the first day to the last is pretty amazing. It’s like watching a flower bloom,” said Scaramellino.
Muriithii and the other nurses are split into teams before entering the simulation rooms. Each nurse will take on specific duties. The scribe writes notes on the whiteboard as the team is given an overview of the “patient’s” medical status, history, allergies to medications, vitals, and any additional pertinent information before they are tasked to administer care.
In one scenario, “patient” Mark Stone asks to go home. Nurses begin a head-to-toe assessment, and the patient appears ready for discharge. However, Stone starts behaving oddly and eventually begins hallucinating. Nurses were informed earlier that he consumed at least five gin and tonics every night for the last 20 years and determined the patient was going through withdrawal.
“Clinical simulation allows the nurses to experience common ailments as well as uniquely American conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, heart failure,” said Chelsea Harris, RN, MSN, clinical instructor for MedProU®. “They also learn how we manage a code for a cardiac arrest, do patient assessments, and more.”
Kwon Soo Wee, from South Korea, is headed to a medical surgery unit in Augusta, Georgia. He already knows 70 to 80 percent of the material covered during simulation training but still finds the experience helpful. “My hands are a little rusty,” said Wee. “This is a great refresher.”
Most of the simulation “patients” survived, others were not so lucky. Still, the practice and experience will prepare these nurses to provide quality care and save lives when they join their units in the near future.
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