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OSF Saint Anthony College of Nursing students train to care for COVID-19 patients with special simulator

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — While OSF Saint Anthony Collee of Nursing students Kathryn Edwards and Carly Schaab both work in hospitals as CNAs, they aren't allowed in COVID-19 rooms.

However, their college is providing them with a simulation to help them prepare for what this experience will be like after graduation.

"The students don't get the chance to take care of COVID patients in the hospital setting, so this is the best opportunity for them to have that practice," says OSF College of Nursing Skills Assessment and Simulation Lab Coordinator Dawn Mosher.

The simulation involves the students properly putting on and taking off PPE and providing proper care to their patient. In Wednesday simulation, Schaab and Edwards interacted with a patient dummy named Daniel.

"This was the first time we did a simulation on a COVID patient," says Schaab. "So it was different. Every patient presents different, so I think it was really good practice."

Mosher manipulates the dummy while watching the students from another room. She can control his coughing, fill his lungs so they sound as if they're filled with fluid, and even talk through a microphone as Daniel.

Mosher says the students are also asked to connect Daniel with his loved ones at home, through Zoom.

"They are asked to do a video call with this person's spouse, so they are asked to do that to get practice to do that," says Mosher. "To know how to break a little bad news with the condition change of the patient."

"We as nurses really have to use our words and our eyes," says Edwards. "I think that's a huge thing because you can't see faces or expression. To show there is emotion still present with the patient even if we can't physically show it all the time."

While the college says it's used the simulator to teach students for more than a decade, this COVID-19 specific simulation is just a few months old.

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Mary Sugden

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