A new East-West relationship aims to improve nursing student outcomes in China.   Specifically, educators there are interested in simulation learning techniques used by UTC professors.

Dr. Martina Harris (center)

Dr. Martina Harris (center)

At UTC, nursing students experiences a “safe hospital” simulation scenario in each of their five semesters on campus. UTC faculty members create simulations based on best practices, developed by the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL.

At the request of higher education educators in China, Dr. Martina Harris decided to share her expertise in simulation best practices for nine days this summer.

Harris serves as INACSL Vice President for Membership and UC Foundation Associate Professor of Nursing.  With funding provided by INACSL, Harris and a nursing colleague from Auburn University visited Fujian Medical University in Fuzhou, China, and Xiamen medical College in Beijing.


Harris deconstructed the “pre-briefing” before a simulation scenario is introduced.  Students are given a brief description of the patient—for instance, white male, 56 years old, experiencing chest pain.  When the scenario begins, the “patient” (who is actually a game volunteer), could throw the student a curveball by vomiting.

The entire scenario only lasts about nine minutes and it is recorded on video.  At the conclusion, Harris says the real learning begins.

“Students are shocked when they realize what they forgot to do, or that they made obvious mistakes.  Trained faculty review what went well and what could have been done better without the student feeling threatened.  We stress this is a safe environment,” Harris explained.

Three areas are often addressed in simulation: medicine administration errors, patient falls, and increased risk of infection.

UTC students also learn on expensive, computerized high fidelity mannequins.  “They have seizures, they bleed—they truly replicate what a patient will do,” Harris said.

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Fake body parts allow students to practice taking blood pressure readings, administer injections, and more.

Students at UTC sign a confidentiality form to ensure they do not share the content of the simulation.  That way, each student can learn as the scenario unfolds.

“We encouraged our colleagues in China to introduce simulation terminology, the use of standards, and the creation of simulation scenarios for better student outcomes,” Harris said.

Media Relations Contacts: Email Chuck Cantrell or call (423) 425-4363.
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