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Martinsburg VA Medical Center


Nursing Students Learning Through Simulation

Three pre-licensure nursing students don protective medical equipment during a simulation in the SimLearn Lab.

Three pre-licensure nursing students don powered air-purifying respirators during a simulation in the SimLearn Lab.

By Lynne Hess, RN, Clinical Educator; Lauren Winebrenner, Public Affairs Specialist
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Martinsburg VA Medical Center (VAMC) runs a nationally certified simulation center called the “SimLearn Lab” offering staff, students and volunteers a place to learn clinical skills in a realistic environment.

The medical center hosts approximately 300 nursing, medical, pharmacy and other allied health students each year for clinical rotations. These students come from roughly 45 different schools, colleges or universities.

Clinical rotations are coordinated by Education Learning Resource Service (ELRS) and students are placed according to their clinical learning objectives. To further strengthen the learning experience, pre-licensure nursing students are invited to spend some of their clinical hours in the Martinsburg VAMC SimLearn lab where they participate in several hours of simulation training.

Some simulation scenarios include fluid volume overload, sepsis, mock code, anaphylactic reaction, chest tube complications, acute pain management and other high-risk, low-volume complications not often encountered in the clinical setting. Each scenario begins with a pre-briefing including basic objectives, orientation to the high-fidelity human patient simulator (HPS), automatic defibrillator and other bedside equipment.

Following the simulation exercise, students participate in a structured debriefing which includes prioritizing the problems assessed, formulating a care plan and revisiting the goals discussed in the pre-briefing to determine if they were met. This gives the students an opportunity to ask questions and learn from the overall experience. Student feedback collected following these exercises has been very positive.

“Students report that simulation enhances their critical thinking skills by exposing them to high-risk, acute situations,” says Lynne Hess, RN, clinical instructor. “This provides them a safe environment where medical errors can be identified and corrected without negative outcomes.”

For more information regarding clinical opportunities at the Martinsburg VAMC please call Reginia Jordan at 304-263-0811, ext. 4373 or Kimberlee Chiavola at 304-263-0811, ext. 3620. For SimLab reservation requests please call Lynne Hess at 304-263-0811, ext. 2895.


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