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Company Adopts COM Medical Simulations for Training
Scenarios will be available to hundreds of schools in 11 countries

KENTFIELD, Calif.—Feb. 1, 2009—A couple of standout homework assignments by College of Marin nursing students have been adopted as new curriculum for a Florida-based company that creates hands-on experiential training simulations for medical professionals throughout the globe.

“We are honored that our community college is included in such fine work,” said Roz Hartman, director of Health Sciences at the college.

The exemplary student work consisted of clinical simulation scenarios that captured critical elements of the nursing process. Their assignment, given by Mary Pieper-Warren, nursing faculty, was to create a teaching scenario that illustrated a personal experience when they really learned something about the nursing process, a “light bulb” moment as Pieper-Warren called it.

With the aid of technology and life-like mannequins, clinical simulation scenarios provide students with hands-on experiences in a safe laboratory environment and prepare them for hundreds of critical decisions they have to make every day on the job.

The assignments of Andrea Giachetti and Leilani Arian, who graduated last year from the COM nursing program, each told stories based on actual experiences from their student rotations in local hospitals.

Pieper-Warren and Edward Avrutin, simulation laboratory coordinator, then programmed the scenarios into a simulator and presented them to students, faculty and a representative from Medical Education Technologies, Inc., who happened to be on campus at the time. METI, an international company that has simulators in 2,500 community colleges, nursing schools, medical colleges and universities, hospitals and military installations around the world, invited the faculty to edit the work and contribute it to the general curriculum provided by other training facilities.

In Giachetti’s scenario, “Hypotension in Procedural Catheterization Laboratory: Patient Management,” a medical team skillfully handles a crisis during a medical procedure. She recreated what it was like to watch the doctors and nurses work to get a patient’s blood pressure back up to a noncritical level. “As a student, it was kind of scary,” she recalled, “but it was also pretty exciting to see the cohesiveness of all the colleagues in the room. It’s important to know what to do in that situation but also to know your own particular role and to work as a team.”

Arian’s scenario, “Postoperative Care of the Pediatric Patient with Complications: Seizures and Allergic Reaction,” focused on post-operative medication and planning challenges.

Pieper-Warren and Avrutin spent countless hours editing the pieces and creating formal student learning outcomes for curriculum.

The scenarios are included in the 2008 METI Program for Nursing Curriculum Integration and the students and faculty are credited as authors. In exchange, the COM RN Program received the 2008 package of curriculum software, worth over $2,000, at no cost.

“It was so exciting to see this come from the students,” Pieper-Warren said. “It was the students’ ability to communicate their light bulb moment, that moment when they realized the key element of the nursing process that made these scenarios special. They made it come alive.”

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