Russell Sage College students adjust nursing simulation to meet the needs of now

Rensselaer County

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Russell Sage College is adjusting their hands-on lessons for the pandemic while making sure their students don’t miss out on real-world experiences.

Because of the pandemic, the nursing students at Sage can’t be up close and personal with the acting students pretending to be in different levels of medical distress for their bus crash simulation.

“We’ve instituted somewhat of a telemedicine opportunity for the students to be able to look at a patient from a distance,” said Arlene McGuane, a registered nurse acting as the simulation coordinator.

“Instead of having the students present, the students now are, virtually, through the lens of the professor and the theatre students, getting the opportunity to assess potential victims of a bus disaster,” said Dr. Glenda Kerman, Chair of Nursing at Sage.

Acting students from a practicum class were assigned different levels of injury and dressed in torn clothing. They were made-up with putty and fake blood to give the appearance of gashes and wounds.

The nursing students on the other end of McGuane’s iPad assess the injuries and ask the actors questions about their condition. The students then triage them based on which injuries they find most urgent, and are afterward debriefed by their professor about the choices they made, and how they can improve their response in the future.

This exercise is just as much of a lesson for the students in the acting practicum class, who have to know what to say about their ailments, and how to invoke a sense of urgency.

“There are employment opportunities for actors as standardized patients,” said David Baecker, associate professor of theatre at Sage, “we have graduates of our program who work as standardized patients at Albany Med, and it’s a great skill.”

The professors of classes involved in the simulation say the simulation is a perfect example of how the small college is able to collaborate for a big impact on their students.

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