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Health Check: New simulation lab at CCRI

Nursing students at the Community College of Rhode Island in Lincoln are getting some valuable hands-on experience at the school's new state-of-the-art clinical simulation lab. (WJAR)

Nursing students at the Community College of Rhode Island in Lincoln are getting some valuable hands-on experience in the classroom.

It's a new state-of-the-art clinical simulation lab that features several mannequins that offer a realistic patient setting.

“They breathe, they have vital signs, they have a pulse, they can seize, (and) their lips can turn blue,” said Susan Sienkiewicz, who is the department chair of nursing at CCRI.

The new simulation lab also features two hospital-style rooms with different types of patients, including a pregnant woman, newborn babies, and a man struggling with COPD.

“The faculty are actually in the control room, which is where the mannequins are being programmed,” Lisa Burke, who is the CCRI academic clinical coordinator for the simulation lab, said.

Students said they are pleased that they have the opportunity to learn in the lab.

“The simulation lab that we have here at CCRI is an invaluable tool to make the kind of mistakes in a natural environment that you would not want to make while training at the hospital,” Daniel G. Connor, Jr., a nursing student,” said.

Genevieve Kuada, another nursing student, shared similar sentiments.

“We get to do the right things,” Kuada said. “We get to be corrected before we get to the hospital.”

Burke agreed.

“If they give a wrong medication and it will cause a drop in blood pressure, the blood pressure on the mannequin drops,” Burke said. “And then they have to interact and intervene.”

Respiratory and dental hygiene students are also using the simulation center for training.

“It was a little nerve-wracking at first,” said dental hygiene student, Taylor Beland, noting that she and other students had to respond to two different scenarios, including one that involved the patient having an asthma attack. “You just kind of want to give them an inhaler and oxygen, and then just kind of talk to them and calm them down.”

The lab was funded by a $324,100 grant from the Champlin Foundations and is located at the Flanagan campus in Lincoln.

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