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High-tech equipment takes BW nursing students from classroom to clinicals to career

As the inaugural class of undergraduate BSN students begins their clinicals, BW nursing students are having extraordinary learning experiences on campus through the addition of state-of-the-art equipment.

photo of students and professor by birthing simulator

A newly added Lucina Childbirth Simulator is providing students in both the four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and post-bachelor's-degree bachelor of science in nursing (ABSN) programs with elite, hands-on learning opportunities.

According to Chris Seminatore, lab coordinator and assistant professor of nursing, the new simulator is a sophisticated birthing mannequin that has lifelike functions such as pulses in the hands and feet, pupils that dilate and constrict, heart and lung sounds, as well as physiological responses to medication.

Nursing photo

Using the mannequin and the high-fidelity newborn baby that comes with the simulator, nursing students can gain hands-on experience in caring for the mother and baby during and after birth.

Seminatore explained that various birth scenarios can be demonstrated, including abnormalities. This is important, he said, because students may hear about these in class but not get to witness them during their clinical time. The new simulator can help students better understand and manage complications.

Dr. Yvonne Smith, chair of the nursing department, agrees. "Using this equipment, we can provide the same experience to all students to prepare them for what they may encounter in a clinical setting. Simulation not only increases knowledge, but it also builds confidence in students to know how to react in situations.

"One of the key aspects of simulation is to make it as realistic as possible. Instead of asking students to imagine what a scenario is like, based on a verbal or written description, they can see it happen in a controlled environment and interact with the mannequin as a patient," said Smith.

"The equipment is 'state-of-the-art' in that it is the latest technology. We are in the process of obtaining the software for a Hololens that interfaces with this technology so students will be able to have greater access to abnormal conditions and complications and be able to see the results produced by their interventions," Smith noted.

First Undergraduate Nursing Students Begin Clinicals

This semester, 16 students in the undergraduate nursing program are beginning their off-campus clinicals. They represent the first class in BW's new four-year undergraduate nursing program.

photo of nursing students with professor

"Watching this first group of students begin their clinicals is a monumental, joyful opportunity for our department," emphasized Smith. "In August 2021, we launched the undergraduate BSN and began the school year in a $2.8-million newly transformed, state-of-the-art space.

"In May 2025, our first graduates of the undergraduate program will join individuals in our successful post-baccalaureate BSN program in providing much-needed talent for our region's thriving healthcare sector. It will be a proud time for us," she added.

Seminatore believes BW's two nursing programs offer extraordinary learning experiences. BW ABSN students have achieved near-perfect, first-time pass results on the N-CLEX* over the course of several years. He credits BW's ongoing success to several factors - the dedication of the nursing professors, the structure of the curriculum and small class sizes.

"Across all areas of the nursing programs, we employ teaching strategies that are evidence-based and innovative," he explained. "Memorizing information is basic learning. We take it to the next level by having students be critical thinkers and problem solvers. This approach not only helps them in their first career but gives them the skills to move into management positions later on.

"BW's reputation among our healthcare partners is strong. It is because our professors have decades of career experience spanning all sectors. We have been practitioners, managers and educators. But beyond all of that, we are caring, compassionate professionals who put our students first. We know each one by name and make their success our priority," said Seminatore.

*National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) is a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses.

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