At first glance, you’d never know that Elizabeth Horner isn’t an actual nurse… yet.

Or that “Jim” as he’s called, isn’t a real patient.  That’s precisely the point of the Advocate Aurora Health Simulation Center at Aurora BayCare Medical Center. 

“It’s a really great learning opportunity, ” said Elizabeth Horner, a nursing student in her junior year at UW Green Bay.

The Simulation Center at Aurora BayCare is a practice arena of sorts where UWGB nursing students encounter real life medical situations on patient simulators; incredibly life-like,  high-fidelity mannequins that blink, breathe, have a heartbeat, pulse, blood pressure and more.

“They can take the time to think through what they’re seeing and what they need to do because it won’t hurt the patient,” explained Lisa Resch, simulation education specialist at Aurora BayCare.

The hands-on experience and realistic scenarios help develop the vital critical thinking skills that can be tough to learn from a textbook.

“What we’re looking for is team dynamics and communication,” said Resch.

“It really does help just to grow the confidence of ‘I know I can do this,’” Horner added. 

A debrief after the simulation scenario offers students feedback about what went right, what they did well and how they can improve in any areas that may not have gone well.

“Debriefing is where the learning really occurs,” Resch said.

For Horner, the chance to put her skills to work in an actual hospital setting is an invaluable bridge from classroom to career.

“This partnership has really helped us be better nurses, more prepared nurses getting into the field,” said Horner.

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