What Are Simulation Lab Nursing School Experiences?

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Simulation lab nursing experiences are a great place to learn how to care for patients in a safe environment. These hands-on labs teach you to respond to a variety of complex health scenarios. You’ll work with peers in our high-tech simulation labs and receive feedback following each simulation.

Averett ABSN student in simulation lab

As you begin the journey to nursing school, you may have a lot of questions. Nursing school will be different from anything you’ve experienced, challenging you in new ways. Knowing what to expect can give you confidence and assurance from day one of class. Nursing simulation labs are one nursing school experience that may be unfamiliar to you.

Throughout Averett University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, nursing simulation labs are a key part of your hands-on education. Learn more about these labs that take place at our ABSN learning site in Norfolk, Virginia.

What Are Simulation Labs in Nursing School?

During the ABSN program, you’ll complete two types of nursing labs: skills labs and simulation labs. Skills labs focus on teaching you a variety of technical nursing skills and procedures, such as:

  • Wound care
  • Patient assessment
  • Heart and lung auscultation
  • IV placement
  • Medication administration

Taking it one step further, simulation lab nursing school experiences ask you to apply nursing concepts of patient care using high-fidelity patient simulator manikins. You’ll work with a small group under the observation of an instructor to complete many scenarios throughout the ABSN program. For example, you may stabilize a patient experiencing a stroke or guide a pregnant patient through childbirth.

nurses by patient bed helping patient

See the importance of teamwork in nursing and how to develop teamwork skills during nursing school.

How Do Nursing Simulation Labs Work?

Simulation labs have a few components. First, you will be asked to prepare for each simulation by brushing up on relevant topics and completing a pre-lab assignment. When you come to lab, you’ll work with your peers to complete that day’s simulation. During these scenarios, your goals will vary, but you will focus on making appropriate care decisions that promote positive patient care outcomes.

Simulations take place in our high-tech simulation labs, designed to mimic real clinical environments. Instructors observe your actions and manage the patient’s responses and condition. Simulations can often have multiple tiers of difficulty, and you may need to manage a complication that arises partway through the scenario.

After each simulation lab nursing experience, you will participate in a debriefing session where you discuss what went well and what you can improve. You’ll receive feedback from peers and your instructor. Simulations are a non-graded learning opportunity, so you need not worry about making mistakes. Labs are a safe place to develop and hone your nursing skills.

Averett ABSN student working with sim manikin

Why Simulation Labs Are Important

Now that you understand what a simulation lab is, let’s explore why they’re so vital for your nursing education. Here are four reasons the best nursing programs prioritize nursing simulation labs.

1. They Prepare You for Clinicals

The first benefit of simulation labs in nursing school is that they prepare you for clinical rotations. Starting clinicals can be an overwhelming experience for students. It may take time to adjust to the hustle and bustle of a real-world nursing department. Plus, clinicals involve actual patients, so being prepared is essential.

Simulations let you practice caring for patients in the sim lab, readying you for clinicals. By practicing your skills and gaining confidence in the lab environment, you can enter your clinicals with more self-assurance.

Averett nursing student working with sim manikin

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2. You Gain Exposure to Unique Patient Care Scenarios

Another advantage of practicing clinical skills in the lab is that it exposes you to scenarios you may not see during clinical rotations. As a nurse, you’ll need to manage a wide array of patient conditions; labs ensure you have adequate experience even if you don’t see that particular case during your clinicals. For example, simulations might involve the following:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Traumatic injury
  • Confusion
  • Sepsis
  • Depression

Simulation labs provide hands-on practice responding to these scenarios, so you’re prepared for the clinical situations you’ll see as a nurse.

3. You Can Practice in a Risk-Free Setting

Labs are unique because they offer realistic practice without fear of harming patients. In lab, you are safe to make mistakes and not know all the answers. In fact, mistakes are often the best teachers. Having the freedom to be in the learning zone without fear makes labs a prime opportunity to expand your skills. After practicing in the low-stress environment of a simulation lab, you’ll be more confident when you perform those same tasks with actual patients.

ABSN student using stethoscope on sim manikin

4. You Learn from Feedback During Debriefing

Students often find that the post-simulation debriefing session is the most enriching part of simulation labs. During these conversations, you’ll talk with classmates and your instructor about what you did well and what you could do differently in the future. You’ll not only build connections with peers, but you’ll also glean valuable feedback, shaping you into a better nurse for your future patients.

Begin Your Nursing Path at Averett

Now that you know how simulation lab nursing experiences work and the value they bring to ABSN students, it’s time to start your nursing journey.

Nurse wearing blue scrubs standing outside

Ready to begin? Follow these seven steps to become a nurse fast.

Do you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 60 non-nursing college credits? If so, you may meet the admissions requirements for the accelerated nursing program at Averett. We offer three start dates per year, so you can start soon after you finish the prerequisites.

Alongside simulation labs, students in the ABSN program learn via online nursing coursework, skills labs and clinical rotations. In as few as 16 months, you can earn your degree and begin the nursing career you’ve dreamed of.

Contact our admissions counselors today to learn more about Averett’s ABSN program.