High Tech ER Simulation Lab Prepares Blinn Nursing Students For Real World

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BRYAN- "Hi, Mrs. Hardy. How are you doing today?" asked a nursing student at the Texas A&M Health Science Center.

"Oh, I feel so bad," the patient replied.

As Mrs. Hardy takes a turn for the worse, Blinn nursing students rush to her aid. But it isn't a real hospital and Mrs. Hardy isn't a real person. Both are part of a 23,000 square foot high tech simulation lab at the Texas A&M Health Science Center. It allows students to practice treatment on life like 'patients.'

The mannequin simulators used in the facility breathe, cry, give birth and are programmed to respond physiologically to their interactions, allowing students to respond to a broad range of traumas and injuries.

"It's a way for us to practice so that we can learn from our mistakes before we take care of patients in the clinical setting," said the director of the Blinn Associate Degree Nursing Program, Michael Hutton.

Nurses are in high demand and Blinn is making it their priority to train students with the best technology. Hutton said all nursing programs across the nation have been tasked with increasing enrollment so they can increase graduates.

"I think we have doubled our enrollment in the last six years in an attempt to meet the anticipated need," Hutton said.

Students like Lourna Santana are enjoying the hands on experience, even if their patients aren't real.

"Hello, Mr. Johnson," Santana said to her 'patient.' "My name is Lourna. I am a student nurse with Blinn College and today I am going to be helping your primary nurse take care of you."

If she makes a mistake, her professors are there to help - and patients don't pay the price.

"So that, it makes us better nurses," Santana said. "Even as student nurses when we go to facilities, we are able to do what we've learned here at the bedside to the patients, real patients in the hospital setting."

By saving one 'life' at a time, these students will be better prepared when its time to go out into the real world and save real lives.