At Carolina, the lab itself is a realistic healthcare facility – complete with beds, medical equipment, examination rooms and a delivery room. A large, common area enables students to gather for a classroom-style presentation or to get feedback from the nursing faculty who are overseeing the day’s lesson. Computer-generated illnesses and medical emergencies for the manikins challenge students to assess problems and provide care.
Erin McKinney, director of Carolina’s CSL, said the high-tech facility and its patients reflect a growing trend in nursing, medical and healthcare education throughout the nation.
“Students say working with the manikins is an important first step in helping them move from the classroom to clinical settings,” McKinney said. “In the beginning, they are uncertain about the experience. But it doesn’t take long for them to see the experience as confidence-building and a wonderful way to gain in-depth clinical knowledge.”
Crystal Gilmore-Hope of Rock Hill, a senior nursing major, has had classes in the lab since fall 2008 when the College of Nursing began developing the lab. However, the manikins have become increasingly more high-tech and challenging over the past year.
“It’s very unsettling at first to work with a patient who already is sick or has health problems,” said Gilmore-Hope. “But this bridges the gap between class and the real world.”