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Mom and Baby Doing Well as MCCC Nursing Program Welcomes Its Latest Simulator


From left, student nurses Kaitlyn Blair and Jenn Koehler assist with the birth while Nursing faculty member Angelique Simmonds and guests look on.

Mother and baby are resting comfortably.

The Medical-Surgical Unit in Viking Medical Center houses two adult Sims.

Professor Lisa Dunn describes symptoms of a Sim burn patient in the Medical-Surgical Unit.

From left, in the control room during the open house are President Jianping Wang, Nursing fauclty member Maria Molle, and PTA faculty member Holly Kaiser.

West Windsor, N.J. – Nursing students, faculty and staff at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) celebrated the arrival of Dolores Sim and her newborn baby, Kai, to Viking Medical Center on April 17. Kai came into the world amid applause and cheers as part of an open house of the college’s two simulated hospital rooms. Staffing the maternal-child unit during the event were two nursing students, Jenn Koehler and Kaitlyn Blair, while faculty member Florence Lee ran the Sim software from the adjacent control room.

According to Director of Nursing Elizabeth Mizerek, MCCC’s newest simulator is a maternity patient who goes through every stage of labor – from contractions right through delivery and possible post-partum complications. The room is a realistic care setting for both Dolores and several Sim children, including an infant. 

“Dolores provides simulation experiences that give students a high level of hands-on learning,” Mizerek told the assembled guests. “Students can get as close as possible to the real birthing experience and must often make quick decisions that affect the patient’s health. The classroom is the time where they can learn proper responses to medical symptoms without risk to actual patients.”

Koehler, who has been working with Dolores for three weeks, said the Sim mom has provided excellent training. “Sometimes the birth is easy. Other times, things can go wrong. Last week, she started hemorrhaging after the birth. It can feel like an emergency room experience, depending on what comes at us.” During labor, Dolores emits realistic-sounding moans and groans. Students must also watch her vital signs on a hospital monitor.

Many visitors arrived at the open house with gifts of infant items that will be donated to HomeFront, a Mercer County non-profit organization that assists families to escape homelessness and poverty. The new unit is dedicated to HelenMarie Dolton, who founded the MCCC Nursing program 50 years ago. The Sim Mom was purchased through a $64,000 Perkins grant.

A second simulation classroom opened in 2015 and houses two additional adult Sim patients, Alex and Riley. The names are gender neutral because anatomical parts can be switched out to change the gender as needed. The medical surgical unit enables student nurses to demonstrate complete care of patients in concept-based simulation scenarios. 

Mizerek notes that Viking Medical Center has the ability to run multiple simulators at one time.“This helps students to think critically and prioritize patient care needs, just like they will have to do in the hospital setting,” she said. Simulations can be recorded or broadcast live to other classrooms to give more students an opportunity to observe and participate in simulation learning activities.

After each simulation exercise, faculty members guide students through a structured debriefing session to re-examine what took place. “We want to strengthen the link between theory and practice,” Mizerek said, adding that the de-briefing session is often as long or longer than the scenario itself.

She was proud to note that graduates of the MCCC Nursing program are succeeding in high numbers after graduation. In the most recently available statistics, 93 percent of graduates have passed the N-CLEX licensing exam, far above the national average.

Viking Medical Center supports learning for all students in the Health Professions division and allows for interdisciplinary learning assignments among students from different programs. “Students have the opportunity to learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration in caring for patients,” Mizerek said.

In addition to Nursing, MCCC's Health Professions programs include Physical Therapist Assistant, Radiography, Medical Laboratory Technology, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Respiratory Care, Exercise Science, Health Science, Public Health and Medical Office Assistant.

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