UT College of Nursing lab bringing students closer to real life

UT College of Nursing lab bringing students closer to real life health scenarios

Posted:
The HITS Lab is designed to teach nursing students how to respond to different scenarios that they will likely encounter in real life. The HITS Lab is designed to teach nursing students how to respond to different scenarios that they will likely encounter in real life.
There are four exam rooms with five different lifelike mannequins which can talk, breathe, react to light, emit fluids, including sweat and tears. There are four exam rooms with five different lifelike mannequins which can talk, breathe, react to light, emit fluids, including sweat and tears.
Nursing students must treat them like they would a real patient. Nursing students must treat them like they would a real patient.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A brand new facility is opening this week at the University of Tennessee that is testing nursing students' skills like never before.

The Health Information Technology and Simulation Lab, opened through a partnership between UT's College of Nursing and College of Engineering, looks identical to a real hospital, complete with exam rooms and mannequins that can behave like real patients.

The HITS Lab is designed to teach nursing students how to respond to different scenarios that they will likely encounter in real life.

There are four exam rooms with five different lifelike mannequins which can talk, breathe, react to light, emit fluids, including sweat and tears.

Nursing students must treat them like they would a real patient.

"So Mr. White may begin feeling poorly. He may have a drop in his oxygen saturation that needs responding so we would be expecting the student to maybe consider getting an order for oxygen," said Tami Wyatt, co-director of the HITS Lab.

Students must react to changes in their "patients" in real time, either controlled by their instructor in a control room, or by sensors on the mannequin itself.

"As the students react to the patient, either appropriately or inappropriately, then I will change those vital signs, like the heart rate and the lung sounds," said Susan Fancher, simulation coordinator for the UT College of Nursing HITS Lab. "If they push the morphine faster than what is appropriate to push on a patient, then the mannequin would react where he would stop breathing or his respiration would really decrease according to what that medication would naturally do to a person."

The entire interaction is recorded on video so students can later watch footage of their work and learn from any mistakes they made.

Wyatt says the hands on learning makes the students think on their feet, strengthening their skills.

"The more that we can prepare students for that when they become nurses, then they're that much ahead and can act appropriately and can provide appropriate care," said Wyatt.

Construction on this nearly $2 million was just completed this week.

The lab is located in the former Student Health Center building on campus.

Wyatt says until now, nursing students had to use makeshift empty classrooms as space to practice on mannequins.

The first group of UT nursing students to use the lab will be allowed in on Thursday, March 27, following the facility's grand opening celebration.

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