College of DuPage Opens Hospital Simulation Lab for Nursing Program

Submitted by Brian Kleemann

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College of DuPage Opens Hospital Simulation Lab for Nursing Program

College of DuPage Opens Hospital Simulation Lab for Nursing Program

College of DuPage Nursing students are now learning how to respond to a wide variety of patient care experiences in the new Hospital Simulation Lab.

The $350,000 facility, which opened for the fall semester in the Health and Science Center, consists of a nurse’s station, four hospital rooms, two viewing rooms and one debriefing room. The lab will be used for instructional purposes by approximately 400 students per semester enrolled in Associate Degree Nursing, Practical Nursing and Certified Nursing Assistant programs. View photos of the new lab!

“Opportunities to create situations that are high risk or occur infrequently in the clinical setting can be created in the lab,” said Vickie Gukenberger, associate dean of Nursing and Health Sciences. “This provides all students with a similar opportunity for engagement and assessment.”

Each of the four hospital rooms contains a computerized mannequin, with one room dedicated as a birthing suite. The viewing rooms sit between two hospital rooms and consist of one-way glass so lab staff and technicians can watch students respond to the simulations. Based upon the student’s “intervention,” the lab staff can manipulate the mannequin and even provide voiceover reactions.

Simulations range from providing medication to cardiac arrest, and more than 30 different simulations have been created with many more to come, Gukenberger said. Instructorscreate and oversee the experience, including preparation for and debriefing of the simulation, which can be videotaped and reviewed in the debriefing room. This gives students the opportunity to reflect on their performance and receive constructive feedback.

The lab also features an automated medication dispensing unit and an electronic medical record system.

“Simulation is effective in narrowing the gap between theoretical foundations and clinical practice,” she said. “Students are less tense and more engaged in a simulation, thus preparing them to handle the rigors of clinical rotations.”

In creating the Hospital Simulation Lab, faculty members visited other schools with similar facilities. A former Nursing lab and storage room were converted into the new space. In the future, Gukenberger plans to add a long-term care and home care lab. The end result is a collaborative experience where students receive hands-on training in real-world situations that better prepares them for the workplace.

“There are certain high-risk but low-volume experiences at clinical sites that only a handful of students may observe, and even fewer participate in, such as a patient coding,” Gukenberger said. “The Hospital Simulation Lab allows all students to respond to these situations in a safe environment where we can evaluate them. As a result, the clinical agencies have confidence in our students’ abilities when they arrive at their clinical sites.”

For more information about the Nursing program, call (630) 942-8433 or visit