Two nurse educators at the College of Southern Maryland were awarded $120,000 in Microsoft support and services, as well as a seat at a business accelerator course for their prototype of a wearable simulation device designed to enhance nurse training, according to an Aug. 1 press release from CSM.
Liz Benson and Linda C. Goodman invented a product line called ReaLifeSim that gives healthcare students an opportunity to receive simulated feedback for procedures such as inserting an IV, according to the release.
“I thought of a tat sleeve — a flesh-colored sleeve used to cover tattoos — that I knew people wore when going on job interviews,” Benson said in the release. “I wondered if the sleeves could be outfitted to have technology similar to that in the mannequins that track the progress of each user. Why couldn’t we rig equipment to simulate inserting an IV, drawing blood, taking vital signs?”
Benson, an entrepreneur and Level III certified adjunct professor of biology and nutrition at CSM, founded B & G Educational Innovations with Goodman, a nursing professor and coordinator of the simulation labs at CSM. They were awarded the monetary gift and course from a panel of business executives during the One Spark event in Jacksonville, Fla., and competed against 190 teams for funding, according to the release. “Innovation is one of the core values at CSM and developing better ways to teach, creating better processes and securing better technology is encouraged and celebrated,” Goodman said in the release.
“Good communication skills are the key to building trust,” Benson told the panel, according to the release. “Just as nursing students need to learn technology to create good outcomes for their patients, they need to learn interpersonal communication skills demonstrating competence and caring — the basis of trust-building.”
B & G Educational Innovations “assess training methodologies, create competencies, design products, evaluate processes, and instruct in both existing and developing educational and healthcare environments,” according to its website.
The ReaLifeSim product line has interactive and integrated wearable clinical education simulation device kits that can be used to simulate a variety of clinical situations such as the practice and performance of assessing, identifying, and treating a deep vein thrombosis, central line punctures and access for infusions, and assessing, identifying, and treating gangrene with a wound on the foot, to name a few.
The Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report mentions simulation specifically as a “strategy for training higher numbers of nurses to meet the needs for an aging patient population,” according to the January 2015 article, “Nursing Simulation Scenarios: The Future of Nursing Education,” published online by the American Sentinel University.
“Simulation has also gone high-tech, making it an effective tool not only for new nursing graduates, but for more experienced nurses who want to learn or improve advanced skills,” the article stated. “The future of nursing education may be in the area known as high-fidelity simulation: the use of computerized mannequins that exhibit a wide range of patient conditions.”
The Society for Simulation in Healthcare describes some of the benefits of simulation education on its website. “Whether training in a full-mission environment or working with a desktop virtual reality machine that copies the features of a risky procedure, training simulations do not put actual patients at risk,” the SSH website stated. “Healthcare workers are subject to unique risks in real settings too, from such things as infected needles, knife blades and other sharps as well as electrical equipment, and they are also protected during simulations that allow them to perfect their craft.”
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