At a Glance
The Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County (CTCLC) and Practical Nursing Program collaborates with the Lackawanna County Workforce Development Board (WDB) to provide opportunities to educate students and parents/guardians on local in-demand occupations and the career pathways associated with them. As part of these efforts, CTCLC Practical Nursing obtained and incorporated High Tech Simulation equipment to improve skills performance, problem solving, and critical thinking skills of the practical nursing student. This incorporation allowed students to gain skills necessary to prepare for the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) and attain competence in Obstetric and Pediatric skills.
Offered to the Level III and IV Practical Nursing students, OB/Peds simulation focuses on correlating classroom theory with clinical practice. Janet Yontas, Family Life Cycle instructor, points out that the decision to focus on this project was deliberate, to fill the gap caused by a lack of live in-person clinical rotations for Pediatrics and Obstetrics. She notes, “Pediatric and Obstetric clinicals for the nursing student have been consistently difficult to obtain and incorporate into the clinical curriculum. There is a need for clinical experience to help students use the skills they practice in the lab in a live setting, and to implement problem solving and critical thinking techniques. If this cannot be found in a live clinical site, simulation is an effective way of teaching and learning.”
The planning and implementation process for the Simulation experience spanned several years, officially starting in 2013 with Mrs. Yontas’ start as a full-time instructor for the Family Life Cycle Course. A need for pre-clinical preparation for students to understand infant assessment became evident because of staff feedback, student evaluations, and instructor observations. A primitive simulation lab was started with a store bought baby doll and online videos. In addition, the program was able to utilize the Obstetric Simulation lab at the Commonwealth Medical College as a community program outreach to help students understand the birthing process of a laboring mom. Unfortunately, clinical times with the College varied and did not fit the needs of this program.
With the use of Perkin’s Grant money, Mrs. Kanavy, Director of the Practical Nursing Program and Financial officers were able to obtain a base model low fidelity birthing simulator and neonatal simulator to assist students with skills and critical thinking. In addition, Perkin’s grant money afforded the opportunity to extend the simulation by purchasing accessories to include but not limited to birthing labor bed, crib, neonatal thermoregulator, maternal computer software, non-fidelity infants, and cribs for assessments.
Students evaluations, both from the clinical sites and student evaluations themselves, noted increased awareness, preparedness, and performance on the units. Students demonstrated an increased ability to correlate theory to clinical practice and noted better preparedness for NCLEX-PN examination.
The entrance of the COVID-19 pandemic brought new obstacles for the Obstetric/Pediatric clinical as facilities, particularly pediatrics and obstetrics closed to student rotations. Mrs. Yontas and Mrs. Kanavy strived to improve and provide a clinical experience to students for both pediatrics and obstetrics. Virtual clinicals with case studies geared towards the pediatric and obstetric population continued the learning process, however, did not replace the experience of live clinicals. As facilities opened to students, it became apparent that Obstetrics and Pediatrics would continue with limited options. Students were able to continue in the live clinical of pediatrics by attending and caring for children in a facility geared toward children with medical needs. Pediatric facilities in the area were closed completely, taking away any options for students to care for children in an acute setting. Obstetric experience is limited to whether there are laboring mothers in the unit at the time of rotation, whether the parents permit a student during their process, and availability of units.
Covid Cares Act gave us the opportunity to research and purchase new high fidelity equipment in 2021, giving way to a new OB/Peds clinical curriculum schedule and improving knowledge and performance. With the help of Robert Machey, Sales supervisor of Gaumard 9 (Simulators for Health Care Education), we were able procure High Fidelity Advanced Birthing Simulator, Victoria S2200, Super Tory infant (S2220), as well as Pediatric Hal (the most advanced pediatric simulator). A new OB/Peds simulation suite was introduced in the practical nursing department to include state of the art equipment, cardiorespiratory monitors, and incorporated simulation scenarios to mimic the inpatient hospital setting for both birthing and acute pediatrics. Mrs. Yontas states, “ this incorporation of state of the art equipment gives us the ability to bring students to the hospital room, in the safety of a simulation yet realness of actual care. The simulators are so life-like-unlike anything in this area.” “High fidelity resources that simulate birth with bleeding, life-like contractions, labor breathing, and birth.” Of note, this Practical Nursing Program is the only PN program with this high tech OB/Peds equipment in or around the area for students. In addition, only one Registered Nurse program currently provides students with the same simulation experience.
Level III and Level IV nursing students have utilized the High Tech simulation room. All evaluations have been positive with students feeling comfortable, competent, and confident in their ability to perform tasks, critically think, and prepare for NCLEX-PN. Students have stated: “Life-like simulation experience”, “I felt like I was in the labor room.” Employers who have employed students that have been involved in the CTCLC PN OB/Peds simulation experience have noted a positive experience. “Graduate nurses from CTCLC are prepared as though they have had pediatric or OB experience”.
Janet Yontas MSN RN, Faculty