Nursing Learning Center

Simulation Laboratories

The College of Nursing launched its Simulation Program in the Undergraduate Program during the 2008-2009 academic year. The Nursing Learning Center was started as an AQIP (Academic Quality Improvement Program) project to Enhance Student Learning. The overall goal for this AQIP project was to develop a Nursing Learning Center for students that would provide an opportunity for the development of critical thinking, decision making, and priority setting skills for larger number of students. The development of a professional skills laboratory, the acquisition of a Human Patient Simulator, additional equipment for the skills lab, and the development of simulated patient case studies provide alternative clinical learning experiences for students.

Technology | Students Learning Simulation


The Learning Center Facilities

The Nursing Learning Center is a state-of-the-art facility that houses four large learning laboratories.  The Center is located in the Allied Health building on the campus of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.

The Basics Laboratory is an 11-bed facility which is used by faculty in all courses to teach basic nursing skills to students. One of the beds is set up to simulate a patient isolation room. 

The Advanced Laboratory has two stations that are simulated as intensive care unit beds and two stations simulate emergency department bays.

The Health Assessment laboratory has seven stations set up with examination tables and modeled after examination rooms in physician offices.

The Family Laboratory provides two obstetrical stations and two stations set up as pediatric beds.

All beds or stations are computer-equipped with electronic medical record capability, allowing student s to document patient care as they work. Students also use Internet access to gather information or research for patient care. Each laboratory includes a classroom area with "smart classroom" technology and seating for 15-20 students. The classrooms provide space for debriefing and discussion after the simulation experiences.

A variety of low, medium and high-fidelity manikins in the laboratories serve as the patients for the students' simulation experience. High-fidelity manikins include SimMan, SimBaby and Birthing Noelle. These high-fidelity simulators allow students to participate in realistic, standardized learning activities to increase knowledge, critical thinking, communication skills, decision-making, priority-setting, delegation and skills performance in predictable and unpredictable environments. The Advanced Laboratory includes two intravenous simulators that allow for the practice of insertion of intravenous catheters.

The Simulation Program incorporates simulation learning experiences in baccalaureate and graduate nursing courses. A variety of simulation experiences are incorporated to provide realistic, standardized learning opportunities for nursing students without the risks associated with actual patient care.

Simulation Program Objectives

Through the use of simulation learning activities the student will:

  • Assess persons across the lifespan using holistic assessment skills.
  • Identify priorities for meeting needs of clients and families.
  • Develop priority nursing diagnoses with client centered goals.
  • Develop and implement a plan of care incorporating knowledge from:
  • Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Communication
  • Psychomotor skills
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration
  • JCAHO National Patient Safety Goals
  • Cultural and ethnic knowledge
  • Ethical principles
  • Decision making
  • Evaluate the outcomes of student simulated actions.
  • Apply principles of decision making in planning and implementing patient care.
  • Analyze and evaluate individual and group process simulation outcomes through debriefing.


Student Responses

Students had the opportunity to provide written feedback. The comments were reviewed for common themes and statements. The following is a summary of the identified themes from the written comments from students:

  • Technology | Students in SimulationMultiple student comments asking for more simulation experiences that provide a great hands on experience. Felt that it was extremely helpful early in the semester.
  • Helped to develop critical thinking skills and ability to prioritize in a clinical setting comments were made by multiple students.
  • Enjoyed the simulation lab and the learning experience.
  • Simulations provide a relaxed, good environment for learning.
  • Felt simulations were a great and safe, comfortable way to practice being the nurse while having the comfort of a learning environment. Simulations help prepare you for the real world.
  • Simulations provided opportunity to care for patients with problems that we have not seen or might not see on the clinical units.
  • Positive feedback and encouragement from the instructors promoted my learning.
  • Being a hands on learner, the simulations reinforced my learning and helped me to better remember the information and critically apply it.
  • Objective Structured Clinical Examination was very beneficial.
  • Like using the SBARO and equipment in the simulation. Helped to make it realistic and felt that they now know the equipment better.
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