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Skills Lab vs. SIM Lab: What Are They? (RN)

by Elizabeth Russ

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    00:01 Nursing school is filled with many different forms of torture, fun, I mean, learning.

    00:05 And two forms that you may have already been introduced to are Skills Lab and Simulation Lab. They both take place at your school, but are a little bit different and serve different purposes.

    00:16 In this section, I'll give you tips for navigating both of them.

    00:20 But first we need to just understand how they are actually different.

    00:24 So, starting off with Skills Lab.

    00:26 Skills Lab is where you will learn new nursing skills.

    00:30 You're going to practice them and then eventually you're going to come back and perform the skills in front of your professor.

    00:37 And this is called Skills Test Out and it's ...

    00:39 We'll talk about it later.

    00:40 Examples of things that you will learn in Skills Lab are going to be things like how to place an NG tube, how to do a central line dressing change, how to bathe a patient, and how to do a patient assessment.

    00:52 These skills are not performed on live people.

    00:56 Instead, they are in a lab environment performed on a mannequin and simulation patients that are really incredibly freaky robots that are way too realistic or very not.

    01:06 But both options, either if they're really realistic or not, they're both very equally creepy. And when you are learning things in a Skills Lab, you're usually going to be kind of to set the scene for you in a large room filled with patient beds with some mannequins in them.

    01:21 Some of them won't have legs.

    01:23 So you should prepare for that.

    01:24 And you can take turns, like, practicing the skills after they have been demonstrated to you. At some point, after you have learned this skill and had time to come back and practice, you will have a Skills check-off day where you perform the skill in front of your professor who will monitor you during the skill while you do it and make sure you do it correctly and then you're checked off.

    01:45 And if you don't get it checked off, you have to do some kind of a remediation and can come back and try again. Next, let's look at what is a simulation lab also called a SIM lab. SIM labs have more advanced mannequins that are even creepier than the ones in the Skills Lab.

    02:02 And they're in a room that usually has like one or two beds that looks more like a hospital room. This room is remotely monitored by your professor, who can control what happens in the room, can see everything that is going on.

    02:14 And the goal of this SIM lab is to put you into situations that mimic situations that you may see in practice as a nurse, and to help you work through what you would do and say in a more realistic environment without actually involving real patients.

    02:30 For SIM labs, you'll usually be put into groups and everyone in the group will be assigned a role.

    02:36 So, for example, if it's a code, you'll have a recorder, someone who's the primary nurse, someone who's like the social worker, and then the scene will kind of play out, and you will react in live time to it.

    02:47 The patient outcomes will change based on your intervention, and later you will receive, like, a debrief feedback about what was done well and what you could probably change next time to make things go a little better.

    03:00 Examples of things that you're probably going to see when you do SIM Labs are mock code blues, how to therapeutically communicate with patients and their families, and maybe what respiratory failure can look like and how a patient would decompensate. Occasionally, SIM Lab and maybe even Skills Lab will actually involve real humans called models or actors, and they will partake in the situation to help bring it to life even a little bit more.

    03:26 SIM lab is usually seen as a stressful thing because there's no perfect way to prepare for it, right? Because you don't know exactly what you're going to be facing.

    03:35 But at the same time, it's a really good learning opportunity if it's done well . Now, let's see what tips, if any.

    03:42 .. I think I can pull some out, of what we can do to make your life a little bit easier and avoid some potential pitfalls that I've definitely run into while you're tackling SIM lab and Skills Lab.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Skills Lab vs. SIM Lab: What Are They? (RN) by Elizabeth Russ is from the course Build Confidence for Skills Lab (RN).


    Author of lecture Skills Lab vs. SIM Lab: What Are They? (RN)

     Elizabeth Russ

    Elizabeth Russ


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