To celebrate Healthcare Simulation Week, our latest article offers an in-depth look at Galen’s comprehensive approach to simulation-based learning. Simulation, defined as a technique to replicate real-world scenarios for training, testing, and evaluation, is not a new concept in nursing education. Galen has harnessed the power of simulation to elevate its educational offerings, providing a robust, immersive learning environment. This detailed article explores how Galen has integrated simulation across its curriculum, objectives, advantages, and procedures to ensure an enriching experience for future nurses.
Primary Objectives of Simulation at Galen
At Galen, the simulation-based learning approach aims to fulfill multiple objectives:
- Immersive Learning: Create realistic, patient-centered learning experiences.
- Application of Knowledge: Enable students to apply theoretical knowledge in a controlled setting.
- Clinical Judgment: Enhance decision-making and judgment skills essential for safe nursing practice.
Advantages of Simulation-Based Learning
The advantages of employing simulation in the nursing curriculum at Galen are manifold:
- Safety: Allows students to make mistakes in a risk-free environment, ensuring no harm to actual patients.
- Addressing Clinical Limitations: Provides exposure to rare or high-stakes clinical scenarios that students may not encounter in actual clinical placements.
- Role Play: Students can function autonomously in the nurse’s role, gaining confidence.
- Structured Learning: Enables precise planning and execution of patient care components, reducing downtime.
Ensuring Student Competence Through Scenarios
Designing Simulation Scenarios
Simulation experiences at Galen are rooted in the Healthcare Simulation Standards of Best Practice. The design process involves ten crucial steps:
- Conducting a needs assessment.
- Setting measurable objectives.
- Aligning the simulation modality with objectives.
- Designing specific scenarios or cases.
- Employing various types of fidelity for realism.
- Planning learner-centered approaches.
- Organizing a pre-briefing session.
- Conducting debriefing or feedback sessions.
- Evaluating learners and the simulation experience.
- Pilot-testing the simulation before full implementation.
These scenarios are crafted by a team of content experts and “simulationists” who collaborate to create experiences across the curriculum, including treating patients with pre-eclampsia in pediatric acute care settings.
Emotional and Psychological Well-being
Galen places a strong emphasis on the psychological safety of its students. Adopting the Center for Medical Simulation’s Basic Assumption, the program aims to create an environment where learners feel safe and supported. The pre-briefing session, broken down into preparation and briefing components, sets the stage for a psychologically secure learning space.
Integration of Equipment and Technology
Galen offers an array of high-fidelity patient simulators, maintained by specialized technicians and coordinators. Led by the Clinical Learning Operations Manager and the Director of CLL Support, the technology is continually updated to mimic real-world clinical settings accurately.
Assessment Metrics and Feedback Mechanisms
The Creighton Competency Evaluation Instrument (CCEI) is used for high-fidelity simulations. It evaluates students across four domains: assessment, communication, clinical judgment, and patient safety.
Every simulation experience culminates in a debriefing session, conducted by the Healthcare Simulation Standards of Best Practice. These debriefings promote reflection and self-analysis while maintaining psychological safety.
Training and Professional Development
Faculty and staff involved in simulation undergo specialized training. Those with two years of experience in simulation are eligible for certification, a process supported by Galen College of Nursing. Continuous professional development is encouraged through webinars, courses, and journal readings.
Collaboration and Future Plans
Collaboration extends beyond Galen’s walls, with interprofessional simulations being conducted in partnership with external organizations like HCA.
Key Performance Indicators
The Simulation Effectiveness Tool (SET) serves as a primary metric for gauging simulation effectiveness, showing that over 80% of students strongly agree that simulation enhances their learning and boosts their confidence.
Galen is in the pioneering stage of implementing virtual reality-based simulation experiences. Long-term goals include expanding simulation across all campuses and programs and cultivating future educators and leaders in simulation.
Galen provides a holistic approach to simulation-based learning, meticulously integrating it into every facet of its curriculum. From scenario design and emotional well-being to cutting-edge technology and continuous evaluation, the college leaves no stone unturned in preparing its students for the complexities of modern healthcare. With ambitious plans for expansion and interdepartmental collaborations, Galen aims to remain at the forefront of simulation-based nursing education.
In response to the critical shortage of perioperative nurses in the country, Galen is launching a Perioperative Nursing elective course. Beginning in October, Galen will offer this elective to pre-licensure BSN students in Nashville and San Antonio. The course will expand to all Galen campuses starting in January 2024.
This addition to the curriculum highlights Galen’s commitment to expanding educational opportunities, preparing nursing students for specialized roles, and addressing a need within the healthcare landscape.
The Unique Challenges and Responsibilities of Perioperative Nursing
Perioperative nursing is an area that demands extensive training and expertise. A perioperative nurse carries out responsibilities involving everything from preoperative preparation to postoperative care. They work closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, and surgical technologists to ensure the safety and comfort of the patient before, during, and after surgery. Their tasks may include preoperative patient assessments, monitoring patients during procedures, ensuring sterility in the operating room, and providing postoperative recovery care.
The challenges are immense and diverse. “There are more than 15 OR (operating room) surgical specialties and each of them has technology specific to the specialty,” explains Linda Groah, CEO and executive director of the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN). “It can take OR nurses nine to 12 months to be oriented in one or two specialties and up to two years to be oriented in all surgical specialties.”
Addressing the Perioperative Nursing Gap
The urgency of the perioperative nursing shortage is emphasized by the fact that only 6.4% of RNs have a primary specialty in perioperative nursing. In fact, there are currently only 539,753 perioperative nurses currently employed in the United States. The most common degree for perioperative nurses is a bachelor’s degree, earned by 48% of nurses in the field. Close behind is an associate degree, held by 37% of perioperative nurses, while a master’s degree is held by 8%.
Interestingly, Delaware has emerged as the most attractive state for perioperative nurses, with Denver, CO, witnessing the highest demand for this specialty.
Perioperative Nursing Through Hands-On Learning
The perioperative elective is crafted for students who want to dive deeper into the details of perioperative nursing, blending theoretical knowledge with practical application. A significant component of the course involves the study of the role of a circulating scrub nurse. Students will engage in field observations within a pre-selected perioperative setting, ensuring they gain an understanding of perioperative nursing.
Influencing Future Career Choices
Research shows that 26% of nurses who enrolled in a perioperative nursing elective chose to work in the perioperative setting after graduation. Impressively, 83% of the nurses who took the elective but did not immediately pursue perioperative nursing indicated they would consider shifting to this specialty in the future.
The introduction of this elective is a testament to Galen’s dedication to providing diverse, dynamic, and industry-relevant educational experiences. With this new addition to the curriculum, Galen hopes to inspire a new generation of nurses to explore and contribute to perioperative care, significantly impacting the broader healthcare sector.
Smiley, R. A., Allgeyer, R. L., Shobo, Y., Lyons, K. C., Letourneau, R., Zhong, E., Kaminski-Ozturk, N., & Alexander, M. (2023). The 2022 National Nursing Workforce Survey. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 14(1), S1–S90. https://doi.org/10.1016/s2155-8256(23)00047-9
Vortman, R., & McPherson, S. (2021). The State of the Perioperative Nursing Specialty Workforce: Nurse Leader, 19(3), 281–288. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mnl.2020.11.004
Magazine, O. T. (2022, May 1). Nursing shortage. OR Today. https://ortoday.com/nursing-shortage/
Reuter, J., & Spalla King, T. (2021). Evaluation of a redesigned perioperative specialty elective to address the perioperative nursing shortage. AORN Journal, 113(5), 476–485. https://doi.org/10.1002/aorn.13375
The U.S. needs more nurses, which means it needs more nursing students. Many students, especially non-traditional, or those who may be first in their families to pursue higher education, may need additional types of support throughout their academic journey to prepare them to enter the workforce. Galen College of Nursing recognizes that every student has individual needs, which is why they employ a holistic approach to expanding access to nursing education.
Time, opportunity, and information…three essential things for a nursing student. While there are plenty of ways to obtain information, opportunity and time may be limited. Podcasts have become an increasingly popular way to maneuver around obstacles of time constraints and information overload. And, yes, there are podcasts about and for nurses and nursing students. Topics range from informational to comical to storytelling. We’ve compiled a list of podcasts for your listening pleasure. Subscribe and listen today!
- Straight A Nursing:
This podcast focuses on helping students through their clinical, med-surge, mental health, pharmacology, women’s health, pediatrics, and other specialized subjects in their nursing curriculum. Each topic of focus expands through multiple episodes that provide detailed study material and testimonials of real nurses who have experience in the related field. Every podcast includes blogs, quizzes, and study guide courses that can be bought for an additional fee.
- Good Nurse Bad Nurse:
One of the most popular genres of podcasts is, of course, true crime. Check out Good Nurse Bad Nurse for a combination of nursing and crime. This podcast is half light-hearted and interesting stories and half thought-provoking stories that implore nurses to utilize their expertise and critical thinking skills to work through the crimes and tales discussed. Good Nurse Bad Nurse is hosted by a registered nurse and special guests who utilize these true-crime stories to educate and encourage nurses.
- Nursing School Week by Week:
Nursing school can be challenging, and it can be easy to feel alone or like you are behind your peers. Nursing School Week by Week is a podcast hosted by Melanie, a current nursing student, and part-time nurse’s assistant, as she takes you with her through her educational journey. She offers tips on students, acing courses, clinicals, and interview tips. This light-hearted and informational podcast gives you resources for exams and provides every listener with a sense of community with nursing students across the nation.
- See You Now:
This podcast is produced in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson and the American Nurses Association. Host Shawna Butler, a nurse economist, and health technology specialist, provides listeners with a closer look at the individuals changing the face of healthcare. This not only highlights these individuals, but expands nursing allies in politics, business, and technology. Conversations oftentimes feature medical professionals who are developing and accessing new devices, protocols, and processes in fields such as maternal health, infection prevention, palliative care, and so much more. Moreover, this podcast includes discussions on the innovative technologies changing nursing and healthcare such as robotics, virtual screening, and vaccines. This podcast is for any nurse or nursing student who wishes to stay up to date with this ever-changing field.
- The Unofficial NCLEX Prep Podcast:
This podcast is a great tool for nursing students or fresh graduates. The Unofficial NCLEX Prep Podcast is an audio guide to preparing and planning for the exam. Each episode breaks down one special element of the NCLEX Exam. They break down the material, offer stories and advice on subject matter from working nurses, and offer new techniques and perspectives on your study habits and goals. They allow providing a growing study guide with the podcast that can be found in the link provided in the bio.
Devastation by Flooding in Hazard, KY
On a warm summer week in Hazard, KY a community was hit with major rain and flooding. More than 40 feet (at its peak) of flooding displaced residents, uprooted houses and trees, and left thousands without transportation, clothing, housing, and more. A call was sent across the state for aid in any way. Various state, city, nonprofit, and business organizations heeded the call and jumped in to assist this community in need – including Galen College of Nursing. On August 8-13, 2022, 46 Galen nursing students and 4 Galen staff took to the road to lend a hand!
Galen Students on the Ground
In their final weeks of clinical studies, this group dedicated five 12-hr working days in the trenches at the local hospital to assist already overworked doctors and nurses with what would become an overcrowded facility.
Galen students were able to use their required five volunteer days as on-the-scene clinical work. They mostly assisted with nursing home residents who were moved to the hospital for temporary housing. Some of the students expressed their excitement about being able to assist with and sit in during surgeries and gain field experience as they prepared for their final exam. Other duties included cleaning, taking donations, and greeting patients.
Many of the students are current technicians or CNAs in medical facilities, so they were ready to get to work with the guidance of the registered nurses and doctors already on staff. The hands-on learning was an invaluable experience, allowing students to make a difference during a natural disaster and assist a hurting community.
On Thursday, September 8, Galen hosted a special presentation and dinner for the Galen students who donated their time and effort to the Hazard, KY community. They were greeted by the Galen Hazard Campus Associate Dean, Allison Boggs, and were able to share their stories and reflect once again on their experience and preparation for graduation and future success.
When Hazard Kentucky native, Krista Ritche, reflects on her Galen experience as an ADN program alumni, she recalls the importance of maintaining the small-town feeling and finding a sense of community in determining where to pursue her nursing degree.
Finding an institution that embodied the same values as Ritchie was an important component of her educational journey. Growing up, Krista was diagnosed with various illnesses and spent a lot of her formative years in hospital rooms and doctor’s offices. “The nurses that took care of me growing up made the greatest impact on how I see myself and who I wanted to become. I just knew that I too wanted to be one of those people and help others feel better in the same way that was done to me.”
After having her two children, Ritchie’s desire to become a nurse became too large to ignore. A few friends suggest Galen College of Nursing. She decided to attend one of our enrollment workshops and recalls the feeling of shock and excitement after arriving on campus.
“When I first stepped on campus, I was welcomed with open arms. I met almost every faculty member that day and felt invested in from the start. I could just tell that they were willing to work with me in any way I would need to be successful,” said Krista.
Krista graduated from Galen in March of 2020. She is currently working “exactly where she should be” in Pediatrics and Labor and Delivery.
“I would say the Galen family didn’t just focus on my education. In my home town, everyone knows everyone in their class and we were all taught one thing. You don’t just become a nurse because you know things. You become a nurse when you care and develop a sense of empathy. My Galen experience engrained the confidence in me to deliver compassionate, empathetic, and quality care to my patients.”
Nakyra Williams is a current student in Galen’s ADN Program at our Cincinnati Campus. There was never a question in Williams’ mind as to what her future career path would look like.
“I feel like nursing is a field you have to be called for. It’s embedded in me to support others and make them feel safe, comfortable, and cared for even in their most vulnerable state,” explains Williams.
After discussing nursing school options with some friends and family, Williams discovered Galen. She noted that the nurses she spoke to who graduated from Galen embodied the values and dedication to patient care that she strived to have. Upon her arrival to our Cincinnati campus, Williams notes, “the atmosphere of Galen was unlike anything else. The smaller class sizes provide me with the opportunity for more one-on-one instruction and my classmates offer me an amazing support network.”
Nakyra notes that the people at Galen have made a huge impact on her nursing education and overall Galen experience.
“I remember when I first started at Galen. I was so afraid to become an outcast or not have any friends. However, you’d be surprised at how close you become with your nursing student classmates! I have met some amazing people that I will keep in my life forever.”
It wasn’t solely her peers that fostered a welcoming and supportive environment, her clinical instructor Mrs. Ellis extended the same level of support inside the classroom. Williams recalls that Ellis makes sure that every day her students leave learning something new.
“Mrs. Ellis makes me feel nothing less than capable of being successful and she always made me feel safe enough to come to her with anything,” boasts Williams.
The clinical experience can be challenging, but surrounding yourself with eager and similar peers makes all the difference.
“Your class will laugh together and cry together. You will probably practice skills on each other too! Believe me, it may feel awkward at first, but your classmates are experiencing clinicals with you and want you to succeed alongside them.”
Nakyra Williams intends to work in the ICU/Critical Care Unit after her graduation in 2023. She offers this piece of advice to her fellow students.
“Despite how tough the program may get or how tough your outside life may get, remember your why and keep on pushing!”
Meet Keith Beckerich, MSN, RN. He has been a clinical instructor for the Galen Cincinnati ADN and BSN programs for a little over a year. Throughout his career, community care, education, and leadership have always been defining traits in Beckerich’s life.
What is the most important aspect of a clinical environment?
Having a controlled environment where students are comfortable and able to learn is imperative. But also, as educators, we must allow them to have freedom too. Having the ability to make and learn from mistakes in a clinical setting is critical to advancing education. My job is to make sure they are doing it safely. So, overall I’d say the most important aspect for a clinical environment is the ability to expand your independence in a real-world environment by actively increasing your knowledge and experience with patient care.
Most unique way you taught a class?
I actually just taught a class last week that was really fun and creative. I was teaching students about Cardiac tamponade – when extra fluid builds up in the space around the heart and it can no longer pump. So, I took a straw and blew up a glove, first with air, and then with water so students can see the halted expansion visually that the fluid can cause. I really think this was a great learning tool as it was a real-world simile as to something they may treat in a patient one day. Moreover, it was really fun and we all had a good laugh throughout the class.
How valuable is Galen’s focus on hands-on education?
Hands-on experience for a nurse is by far the best way that students can learn. There are many careers that you can move through without being hands-on. Nursing is not one. Every nurse will need that experience with patients and their families. You must have that intrinsic value of being able to learn in that way. Most students, I have found, learn best with this method as well.
What were you like as a student?
I was 35 when I began nursing school. I had a background as a medic in the military and as a firefighter. So, I had a lot of basic medical knowledge when I started nursing school. I didn’t need to study or take as many notes as most people around did, but I was that student who held study groups and tutored whenever anyone needed it. I definitely feel that I was a leader in the classroom. It was so rewarding to help my former classmate succeed. I knew I wanted to be a nurse educator from the moment I started school, so by naturally being a leader in the classroom, I knew I was making the right career choice. It really helped prepare me for my time at Galen College of Nursing.
What should students do to stay motivated?
It is up to the instructor to find situations and circumstances that will let the students thrive and learn. You don’t want every lesson to seem boring or mundane. You advance each quarter, and each quarter should be an advancement of what a student can do. Their interest and passion combined with a constantly buildable curriculum will help maintain motivation.
What is your favorite part of being a nurse educator?
There is always a moment where you can see a look on a student’s face when the material just clicks. Seeing that is enough motivation to continue teaching for the rest of my life.
What can a Cincinnati student expect or look forward to at Galen?
We have a great campus with a close and supportive community. Incoming students can expect a challenging, but accomplishable goal in becoming a nurse. There are tons of nursing schools out there, and I would never speak negatively on a school that commits to teaching nursing education. But I will say that I will ALWAYS speak highly of a nursing education from Galen. It is worth it.
What is your advice for those wanting to be a nurse educator?
If you have the passion to do it, just go for it. Try it out by teaching some clinicals and getting experience. There is always a place for nurse educators. You just have to put yourself out there and see what fits you best.
Kameron Owens is a recent graduate from the LPN to ADN Bridge Program at our Cincinnati Campus. Owens’ dedication to the nursing profession has inspired classmates and educators who have had the privilege to work alongside him. Though his time with Galen has come to a close, Owens reflects fondly on the experiences and education he had with the college.
What brought you to Galen?
“Galen’s reputation was the ultimate factor that guided my decision. Friends of mine attended Galen Cincinnati and encouraged me to pursue my RN degree there, due to their strong and structured curriculum. The preparation students are given allows us to be successful in our programs and chosen career paths. “
Why did you feel called to the nursing profession?
“It all began with my grandparents. They were my inspiration because I wanted to be sure that they never had to worry about not having caring support within their health and lives in general. Once I was pulled in, I have not been able to see myself in any other career in this world. I have a natural calling to care for and support others. So many people and patients will tell me that I have a good and positive aura to my presence that makes them feel more comfortable in a critical time. Knowing that I can find answers and make a way to not only care for, but to also “get things done” for someone who may not be able to for themselves, is the best reward to keep me in this profession.”
Was there a Galen Nurse Educator that impacted your nursing education?
“There were multiple instructors who really offered their knowledge and time to us, students. Each instructor has their own way of guiding us, but you will find that Galen’s instructors truly have their student’s best interests at heart. All of the Galen faculty shows the student body equal support and positive encouragement throughout their journey.”
What was the highlight of your Galen experience?
“Some of my best experiences occurred during clinical rotation. The clinical instructors are a relief from class, but also a great benefit to our educational pursuits. My clinical rotations were during the COVID-19 pandemic, so there were moments where it seemed overwhelming, but some of the experiences that I received in clinicals were most exhilarating. It motivated me to keep pushing forward. Our instructors encouraged and influenced us to keep reaching for gold and showed us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Do you have aspirations of furthering your nursing education?
“I do plan to continue forward in my education. I have not selected a program yet, but my goal is to apply and obtain acceptance into an HBCU nursing or healthcare management program!”
Do you have any advice for potential students interested in Galen College of Nursing?
“I would encourage students to keep their heads to the sky! Nothing worth fighting for comes easy in this world, but in pursuit of a nursing education, thriving effort and discipline are key! Self-care is key! Positive surroundings are essential! A positive mental capacity encourages determination and ambition to cross the finish line.”
Natasha Colón is a current Tampa Bay student in our ADN Program. Colón’s Galen story is one of passion, perseverance, and ingenuity. Her nursing journey began in March of 2020, just a few days prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when she discovered that she was pregnant with her daughter. The challenges of the pregnancy combined with the overwhelming stress of a global pandemic offered Colón her fair share of adversity.
Yet, she persevered throughout those nine months, which resulted in Colón finding her calling in the field of nursing. Natasha explains that her experience in labor with her midwife inspired her to pursue a career in nursing.
“The midwife that helped me through my pregnancy made me feel safe and prepared to take this massive life step. She truly made me feel like I was more than another patient. It was after that experience that I knew that I wanted to give others the same positive birthing experience I had.”
She recalls discussing this aspiration with her cousin, who recommended she look into Galen of College of Nursing. After a few meetings and a campus visit, Colón was enrolled and on track to becoming a nurse.
On campus, Natasha truly felt inspired and eager to learn.
“I love going to class. The teachers are always there to support me while still challenging me academically. They truly create an environment that I feel l can thrive in both personally and academically,” she says.
However, it was her time in our Advanced Simulation Center and clinical settings that inspired Colón to create a tool that would, not only help advance her hands-on experience, but her peers’ as well. Natasha found that organizing her head-to-toe assessment and care plan was difficult due to the large size of notebooks and the inevitable amount of scrap paper used.
Colón desired to have a notebook that would eliminate this inconvenience and focus better on patient care. So, she designed a specialized journal that displays a breakdown of Galen’s Head-to-Toe Assessment and Care Plan on the left and a section for reflection on the right. Moreover, she measured the exact dimensions needed to allow the book to fit conveniently in the pocket of her Galen scrubs. Immediately she began looking into turning her idea into a reality and after a mere 48 hours, the book was available for order.
Colón’s intention was for the book to be for personal use. However, her classmates soon took notice of its clean design, helpful interior, and convenient size and inquired her as to where to get one. This led to Colón beginning to sell this book to other students. The students left raving reviews of the usefulness of the book and brought it to the attention of some Galen faculty members.
“I really just wanted to share this tool I had created and I am glad that it is helping my classmates improve their clinical skills. Beyond that, I am glad that my classmates supported me and my idea. I really think this book, though small, can truly help Galen students learn to provide exemplary quality care,” explains Natasha.
Colón is set to graduate in 2023 and is enthusiastic about her future in health care.
“I have aspirations to continue my nursing education and become a certified nurse-midwife. I cannot begin to explain how excited I am to give others the same birthing experience that I had.”
Beyond her career aspirations, Natasha Colón elaborates that she wants to be sure to foster an environment of inclusivity and diversity during her time at Galen and in her future as a nurse.
“Making sure every person I encounter feels supported, cared about, and safe will always be my top priority. I always want to help others. I love helping my peers in class, my daughter grow, and my patients feel better. Caring for others is and will always be my calling,” boast Colón.
In support of Colón’s dedication to nursing education, passion for patient care, and desire to help others, Galen College of Nursing will be offering a limited number of Colón’s books in our on-campus stores.
At Galen College of Nursing, we truly change the life of one to care for the life of many.