iStan Helps Nursing Students Practice Real Scenarios

Posted on April 28th, 2011 by

by Hanna Schutte ’11

Gustavus nursing students in a simulation with iStan. (Photo by Hanna Schutte '11)

Walking into the nursing lab in P.A. Mattson Hall, one’s attention is immediately drawn to the row of mannequins in hospital beds lined up and awaiting treatment.  One mannequin, however, is in a room by itself.

This mannequin called “iStan” is a learning tool that has many life-like similarities. iStan can blink, sweat, and simulate a pulse, heartbeat, and breathing.

Using iStan provides Gustavus students the opportunity to practice important nursing skills in a simulated environment.

“It is a way to make decisions without injuring someone,” says one nursing student. “You have to think on your toes, since things can change really fast,” says another.

A nursing student works with iStan. (Photo by Hanna Schutte '11)

Observing the nursing students in a simulation with iStan is like having a real patient in the laboratory. While working with iStan, the nurses-in-training can, for example, practice treating a patient who is experiencing heart pains. They can follow the medical procedures to make the patient comfortable, administer proper medications, check and monitor vital statistics, prepare the patient for heart surgery the next day, and conduct post-surgical care.

iStan comes with pre-configured medical scenarios. Students do prep work the night before, run the scenario playing different roles, and then debrief and analyze their efforts afterward.

Professor Meyer '98 looks on during a simulation with iStan. (Photo by Hanna Schutte '11)

Nursing professor Heidi Meyer ’98 talks about the benefits of having equipment such as iStan:

“It doesn’t take the place of a real clinical, but it gives students a chance to practice skills in a safe environment. In a clinical, they work with nurses who guide them, whereas here the students have to do all the thinking. They can learn from their mistakes in a safe place.”

The iStan simulator was purchased in January 2011 with a donation to the nursing department.

 

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