Thursday, November 18, 2021
Nurse practitioner students talk with and check the vitals of a child at a pediatric simulation held for students in the NP program in the College of Nursing Building on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. Students had a chance to apply their clinical skills in a low-stakes setting by practicing well checks on children of various ages.

“I’m good with the eye stuff,” volunteers nine-year-old Calvin, by way of introduction to the two nurse practitioner (NP) students approaching his table. “She’s good with the reflexes,” he says, pointing to his sister Katie, 11.

Both kids came to the College of Nursing on Wednesday, Nov. 17, with their dad, Associate Professor Dan Crawford, DNP, ARNP, CPNP-PC, CNE, to serve as practice subjects in a pediatric simulation for NP students.

“Our students haven’t had a lot of pediatric experience,” says Assistant Professor Krista Ford, DNP, ARNP, FNP-C, who also brought her kids to participate in the simulation. “This is a way for the students to have real life practice,” Ford adds, since kids are not currently allowed in the Nursing Clinical Education Center (NCEC) due to the pandemic.

Nurse practitioner students talk with and check the vitals of a child at a pediatric simulation held for students in the NP program in the College of Nursing Building on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. Students had a chance to apply their clinical skills in a low-stakes setting by practicing well checks on children of various ages.

Eyes were examined, ears were assessed, heartbeats were heard, and reflexes were tested during 20-minute sessions as students rotated between six tables of child and adolescent simulated patients and their NP faculty provided instruction, guidance, and feedback. The pediatric simulation was organized to be an “opportunity for our nurse practitioner students to interact with children in a low-stakes environment,” says Assistant Professor Amalia Gedney-Lose, DNP, ARNP, NP-C. “This allows them to practice their skills and feel more comfortable when applying those skills in a clinical setting.”

“I prefer to practice in a place I don’t feel rushed or judged,” says fourth-year Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student Obehi Ehikhamenor. “This is a lot calmer [than clinicals]. I was able to see things here and I hopefully will now be better in a clinical setting.”

For the students, examining the kids was an invaluable experience. “We’ve only had adults pretending to be kids,” says fourth-year DNP student Rebecca Ellens. “It’s nice to have actual kids.”

Nurse practitioner students talk with and check the vitals of a child at a pediatric simulation held for students in the NP program in the College of Nursing Building on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. Students had a chance to apply their clinical skills in a low-stakes setting by practicing well checks on children of various ages.

The Crawfords and the other kids had a good experience, as well. They patiently sat for exams, but also tried out the instruments and chatted with the students. “I think it’s fun that they’ve been practicing on us,” says Katie.

“I just like getting diagnosed,” adds Calvin.