Faced with stressful situations while caring for patients, it’s no wonder that doctors, nurses and pharmacists often find themselves in unimaginable circumstances.
To prepare Aggies entering the health care field for the full range of medical situations they could encounter, the Clinical Learning Resource Center (CLRC) at Texas A&M’s Health Science Center (HSC) serves students across the HSC colleges and a multitude of other medical and nursing programs across the state by helping students refine their fundamental and clinical skills in controlled, simulated health care environments. Highly specialized instructional technology is utilized, including computer-programmed full-body manikins with the capacity to realistically simulate a range of physiological states and responses.
To best equip students to encounter the ever-changing dynamics of a clinical or hospital setting, the CLRC’s staff assist faculty to implement various simulations. “Working in health care is all about learning how to adapt to a multitude of scenarios and being prepared for any number of situations that could arise,” said Kim Yandell, assistant director of the CLRC.
Simulations are leading the way to provide invaluable experience to students, because they allow Aggie health care professionals to encounter certain situations in the clinical or hospital setting without putting the patient at risk. “We are trying to teach students in a safe environment how to deliver patient-centered health care through human interaction and cutting-edge technology, such as telehealth models, high fidelity manikins and ventriloscopes (simulated stethoscopes),” said Dr. Regina Beard, assistant vice chancellor for health services and interim director for the CLRC.
The Standardized Patient (SP) Program
One of the unique opportunities that students have in the CLRC is working with a standardized patient in a realistic case scenario. Individuals are recruited to portray patients from infancy through retirement. In a simulation with a standardized patient (SP), students can practice their assessment and communication skills by interacting with SPs assigned an ailment or illness for the purpose of the simulation. The SPs undergo prior training to understand how to adapt to the simulation.
For example, if the student asks a specific question or performs a certain procedure, the patient is trained to respond accordingly and present a variety of realistic scenarios that students must navigate. “This allows students to identify and practice their responses and implement good communication in high-stakes scenarios,” Beard said. “With good practices in place, they reduce the chances of experiencing the worst outcome.”
Check out four unique simulations with the SP program that students experience at the CLRC: