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Nursing simulation lab open houses will showcase VR goggles and AI mannequins

If you’ve ever wanted a glimpse into the life of a healthcare professional, you can check out TCNJ’s nursing simulation center this week as it opens its doors to the campus and local community in celebration of Healthcare Simulation Week.

TCNJ’s Department of Nursing operates three simulation/skills labs on campus that house learning tools like mannequins from all stages of life (some with artificial intelligence and one that delivers babies), hospital beds and medical-surgical equipment for to-be nurses to practice their skills, as well as an entire clinic set up in Trenton Hall. 

New to the lab this year are Oculus goggles paired with virtual reality software that students can use to fully immerse themselves in realistic patient care situations like catheter or IV insertion.

“Students can talk and physically do things to the patient as they would in real life,” says Chelsea Lebo, simulation lab facilitator. “Some of the scenarios are multiuser so more than one student can be ‘in’ the scenario at a time and they can work together.”

The lab also employs community members and recruits volunteers (students or even local hospital staff) to assist in simulations. Lebo says these actors follow a script and sometimes are moulaged — that is, wearing make-up that simulates injuries or fake wounds — to make their roles more realistic.

Open houses in Forcina 111 are scheduled for Monday, September 13 from 2–4 p.m. and Thursday, September 16 from 11 a.m.– 1 p.m.

“Both undergraduate and graduate nursing students use the simulation labs throughout their time at TCNJ,” says Lebo. “Freshman through senior year, they have at least one simulation experience. Junior and senior year they spend a lot of time in simulations to increase critical thinking and clinical decision-making skills.”

Healthcare simulation week is a celebration of professionals — like TCNJ’s simulation team in the School of Nursing — who use simulation to improve the safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of healthcare delivery. This week is celebrated globally and helps raise awareness in the community and on campus about how healthcare simulation is leading to more knowledgeable and safer patient care. 

Learn more about TCNJ’s Department of Nursing