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UTEP Nursing Students Get a Taste of Real-World Patient Care

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POSTED: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 4:30pm

UPDATED: Sunday, December 18, 2011 - 5:56am

EL PASO - How many of us would like to experience what a job is like, before actually doing it? That's what some nursing students at UTEP are up to.

At first glance, UTEP's new Simulation Center looks like a hospital, but it's actually a facility where nursing students practice on people posing as patients.

"It replicates what a hospital would be like, but in an environment where it's safe, and we don't actually hurt the patients,” said Melissa Barnes, one of 30 nursing students participating in the program.

Half the students act as patients, while the other half put their nursing skills into action.

"They run a five-hour day, where they have to interact with the patient. They have to do assessments, give medications, do interventions,” said Melissa Wholeben, a nursing instructor.

Wholeben said the simulation exercise is a perfect opportunity for students to learn valuable skills.

"The students actually do enjoy it, sometimes we throw situations at them that they might not quite know how to react to, but that's the beauty of simulation,” said Wholeben.

Barnes couldn't agree more. She said it's a great way for her to experience what it will be like at a hospital.

"These are things I wouldn't have thought of on my own...what could happen...you don't think that someone's going to come in with gallbladder stones and they have cancer. So, it's interesting to see how things progress,” said Barnes.

We're told that today's event is just one of many simulation exercises that the nursing students have to get through before they graduate.

Up next, the students will see how things work in an intensive care unit.

Comments News Comments

This simulation with other students is all well and good,with limited use to learn certain skills.Better are high tech simulation dolls that have vital signs,fevers, heartbeats, breath sounds,etc and artificial orifices and veins so that students can learn to insert various tubes and IV's before attempting to do so on a live patient.They are great for training.These simulation dummies also give computerized feedback on adequacy of care.These students should also be working in hospital w live pt.

Thank you for your comments. As a representative of the UTEP School of Nursing, I want to reassure you that the dean is aware of your concerns. We are diligently working at the issues you identified and aim for smooth, timely admission processes. In addition, we will share your concerns about parking with the appropriate department. We are confident that once the new bridge is operable, some of these problems will be solved.

Jesus Mendoza

Exactly why I chose NMSU and not UTEP. They have incompetent people over at that school! They will tell all new Nursing students to get a degree in something else like dancing while they wait for their response from the Nursing Program. WTH can you do with a degree in Dance? People, start looking elsewhere for your entrance, or at least change your major because it is easier to get your doctoral degree than one in Nursing, unless your from Mexico!

@mexamenian Not just new students but the rest of us who have yet to be registered! We would like our book list and capability to purchase a parking permit just like every other student at UTEP. It is getting ridiculous!!!!

Hey Stepahnia,
Why don't you call the Dean of Nursing and find out why the eff they haven't let the new students know if they've been accepted into the program yet. My wife is waiting anxiously,she turned her paperwork in months ago and all she's getting is BS run around. This problem is supposedly effecting ALL new Nursing students. My wife is getting nervous because she is going to use her GI bill and it takes time to process,if we don't find out soon we foot the bill. WTF is going on@UTEP

Happened to me years ago... needless to say I got a BSN somewhere else.

Same thing is happening with those of us waiting to find out if we got into the pre-nursing classes. However, we've been told that the students waiting to find out about acceptance into the school of nursing are the first priority and that they had to get back to them first which is why our pool of applications has been delayed.

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