Learning by Doing

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Hartwick delivers nursing education at its best: intense academics, hands-on practice of essential skills, close supervision by faculty mentors, and invaluable experience in simulated medical situations.

Hartwick College nursing student in simulation lab
Alyssa Love ’21 calls a Code Blue on “Mr. Shapiro” during a simulated nursing demonstration.

True Blue ’19 coincided with National Healthcare Simulation Week. Perfect timing for nursing alumni and guests to get into the Clark Nursing Simulation Lab and see for themselves what Hartwick students are learning, and practicing, now.  

Melody Best ’84, PhD, clinical assistant professor of nursing, led a demonstration by nursing students caring for a high-fidelity mannequin programmed to exhibit cardiac issues. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, Sarah Fitzsimmons ’21, Natalie Mitchell ’21, and Alyssa Love ’21 posed as shift nurses being briefed by Best, acting as the nurse going off duty. The students sprang into action as their patient, “Mr. Shapiro,” went into a simulated Code Blue emergency. Their efforts to save his life offered onlookers insight into the benefits of simulated learning.

It’s intense, and invaluable. “In simulation, nothing is ever the same,” shares Mitchell ’21. “This experience gives us more confidence when we go into the hospital and work with actual patients.”

Developing confidence and competence is core to nursing simulations. “Most of the learning comes in debriefing,” Best explains. “We talk about what worked, what we could have done better. It’s open communication and everyone’s equal. There are no grades, no judgment. Simulation is a safe environment for the students — physically, emotionally, and psychologically. This is a great way to learn.”

President Margaret L. Drugovich P’12 concurs. “Healing is an art best learned through expert mentoring and through practice,” she says. “Quality simulation is an accelerant to this learning, the perfect complement to place-based clinical practice.”

What’s Next?

“Clinical settings are evolving in ways unimaginable even ten years ago,” says President Drugovich. “With simulated learning, we are helping our nursing students prepare for these challenges.”

The President is referring to simulated nursing education at Hartwick, important priorities in Hartwick225, the College’s strategic roadmap. Like the two completed phases, the next two will include simulation mannequins, computers, monitors, instrumentation, and supplies. In the advanced telemedicine training unit of Phase 3, students will be observed practicing home-based nursing skills, preparing to care for patients in their own living spaces. Phase 4 will fund a replicated hospital floor where nursing students will practice their skills in single-bed patient rooms monitored from observation rooms. 

High fidelity mannequins will be utilized, just as they are in the Clark Nursing Simulation Lab for first year students and the Johnson Simulation Lab for upper class students. And that’s not all — the nursing and theatre arts departments are collaborating so student actors will portray patients, building their skills alongside their nursing peers.

What can You Do?

Creating a competitive advantage like simulated learning is exciting, and expensive. Individual or combined gifts can name a unit, a room, a piece of equipment, or even a bed in Hartwick’s simulated healthcare units. Naming opportunities start at $1,000 – $2,500 for hospital beds and $9,000 – $15,000 for high-fidelity mannequins.

Hartwick College nursing alumnae marvel at advances in nursing education
Career nurses Hetty Hanaford Adams ’59 and Gail Bradley Ingrao ’59 marvel at some of the advances in nursing education since they graduated.

Please contact Vice President of College Advancement Paula Lee Hobson at hobsonp@hartwick.edu or 607-431-4026 to learn more.

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