College Corner: New lab for nursing students to hone critical thinking skills

Human Patient Simulation Lab contains programmable mannequins

RaeAnn Hartman

Special to The Record

When you need a registered nurse, you need someone who can think on their feet.

This fall, North Island nursing students will develop the critical thinking skills to prepare for any health situation with ease, thanks to a unique lab tucked inside the second floor of a building on the North Island College campus.

The Human Patient Simulation Lab contains programmable mannequins designed to cough, belch, groan or moan on command, as students work in teams to assess and treat mock patients.

The goal is to run student nurses through anything and everything they might encounter in practice.

Labs allow students to build their skills and confidence before, or alongside, their clinical placements at hospitals, clinics, and health organizations across Vancouver Island.

The technology and teaching methods are now embedded in NIC’s curriculum, but when the college first introduced its simulated lab in 2009 the manikins were relatively new and best practices were still emerging.

This June, NIC was proud to host the BC Nurse Lab Educators Conference on simulated learning at the Comox Valley campus. Keynote speaker Dr. Nicole Harding spoke about the need to better prepare students for simulated learning labs and include a rich debriefing experience. We’re proud to say NIC has always included planning and debriefing as part of its learning process.

In fact, NIC is recognized as a leader in the field. The college drives evidence-based practice in clinics, hospitals, and educational environments and is a strong partner for team-based simulated learning in the new Comox Valley hospital.

This is just one of the ways our four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree leads nurse education across Canada.

NIC’s degree program is offered in partnership with Vancouver Island University at the Comox Valley campus and is accredited provincially and nationally. Graduates are eligible to practice across Canada.

Many students take on leadership positions before they graduate with the Canadian Nursing Student Association, the local Association of Registered Nurses of BC network, and other NIC groups such as the BSN Nursing Network, and the Global Learning Initiative.

We are extremely proud of the nursing curriculum offered at NIC and look forward to many more years of registered nurses who live their learning, participating as leaders locally, provincially and nationally.

RaeAnn Hartman co-chairs NIC’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program at the Comox Valley campus.