North Dakota State students are training for the real world in high-tech labs.
A large room in Sudro Hall now serves as a skills lab where future nurses are able to perfect their technique.
The lab looks like a large hospital triage center. The beds are able to tilt up and down at the push of a button, and automatic hand sanitizer stations are attached to several walls around the room. A patient lift is mounted over every bed, and curtains are able to separate patients. The only significant giveaway that this room is for teaching is that the patients are made of plastic, not flesh and bone.
The nursing skills lab is able to accommodate 12 to 14 students and seven hospital beds.
Students spend at least two hours a week in the lab where they practice various techniques, such as checking vitals and inserting IV tubing.
Instructors are constantly available to make sure that students correctly perform the tasks that they’ve studied and practiced for months. Questions are always encouraged, and students are encouraged to find their own nursing styles.
“The hands-on nature of the lab is critical for building confidence, creating good habits, and practicing in a safe environment,” NDSU lecturer Kolby Scaeffer Fraase said.
Ultimately, the goal of the program is to encourage teamwork and success. Other students and instructors are always there to encourage and help. Teamwork is considered a vital part of nursing, and skills labs in Fargo and at the Sanford Health NDSU School of Nursing in Bismarck create collaborative environments for students.
After college, most graduates stay in the state to work. In 2016, 91 percent of NDSU’s nursing graduates in Fargo and Bismarck obtained their license in North Dakota.
“I feel like the hands-on experience I’ve received in the skills lab has equipped me to practice at the highest level possible,” Eronmosele, from Abujan, Nigeria, said. The student adds that the program has given them confidence to confidently step into situations because they are able to learn and practice what to do in certain circumstances.
Alyssa Backes, assistant professor of practice, said learning hands-on skill helps students feel as if they are closer to achieving their dreams of becoming a registered nurse. Practicing encourages them to keep trying and also aids in developing confidence and experience.
With this new project, the NDSU School of Nursing is helping to fill the need of nurses in North Dakota. The North Dakota Board of Nursing’s annual report shows there is now a sizable shortage of nurses, particularly in rural areas.