Decade ago, nursing students practiced injecting oranges — and each other — in skills labs.
In 2017, much of that initial practice has shifted to medical simulations, where high tech dummies mimic real-life symptoms and scenarios, allowing first-time students the chance to make mistakes and learn how to respond to rare cases in the safety of a learning lab.
“No one wants to be a passenger in a plane with a new pilot who’s just learning where the controls are,” joked Cindy Munro, the dean of the University of Miami’s School of Nursing and Health Studies. “This is why simulation saves lives.”
On Thursday, the school debuted a five-story “hospital” full of medical simulations. At 41,000 square feet, it’s the largest of its kind in Florida and one of the biggest in the nation.
The facility is an exponential expansion from UM’s previous handful of simulators. Professors said the larger, more complex hospital setting will better prepare students for the multi-layered world of a real medical facility.
“This will bridge the gap between academic knowledge and technical skills,” Edward Erickson, a chief fire officer with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and a doctoral candidate for a nursing practitioner, told the crowd of alumni, donors and trustees at Thursday’s ceremony.
The hospital includes an emergency department with six beds, a six-bed outpatient clinic, labor and delivery suites and four operating room suites.