As you walk past the room you see six beds, each filled with a patient. Monitors, tubes and wires hang above each bed and a curtain separates them.
You assume now that you’re in a hospital, but in actuality, you’re on the second floor of Stafford in a classroom of sorts.
This is where nursing students at Castleton University learn and practice their skills every day.
At least two or three days out of the week, Castleton’s future nurses are getting hands-on practice in the simulation lab. Along with the practical classes in the lab, students are always welcome in the lab to practice their skills.
“When we had free time, we would go in by ourselves for more practice on vital signs, airways, IV’s catheters, shots, patient care, bandages that kind of stuff,” said Castleton alumnus Drazen Smith. Smith graduated from Castleton University in 2015.
Along with giving nursing students a place to practice, it’s also a place for them to build their self-confidence.
“We are able to practice the skills we have been taught without any potential harm to the patients, as well as, creating confidence within the student,” said Kristina LaFond, a current nursing student at Castleton.
The patients that the students work on are not just dummies. They are high tech mannequins and allow some interaction between the student and patient.
“They’re pretty life-like. They can say some things and make noises. They help a lot if you go in believing they are real people,” Smith said.
However, there are many differences between a mannequin and living patient.
“There is only so much that can be done with a mannequin that can prepare you for a real patient,” said Stephanie Cleveland, senior staff assistant for the nursing department at Castleton. “The biggest difference is probably how unpredictable it can be and how quickly things can change.”
The lab and mannequins are great for the nursing students and a great asset for the nursing department. Cleveland, who also works in the emergency room at Rutland Regional Medical Center, attributes some of her skills to the lab.
“I think Castleton prepared me well with my skills as a nurse,” said Cleveland.