Dothan nursing program unveils new pediatric simulator

The simulator is located in the new simulation lab at Adams Hall on the Dothan Campus.

The simulator is located in the new simulation lab at Adams Hall on the Dothan Campus.

Troy University’s School of Nursing at the Dothan Campus has grown significantly in recent years, and newly purchased equipment will give students more hands-on experience than ever before.

This week, the department unveiled a new SimJunior pediatric simulator, which will give nursing students a chance to practice real-world techniques on a life-sized simulated child patient.

“This is a simulation piece of equipment that we don’t have anywhere else at TROY,” said Dr. Wade Forehand, Director of the School of Nursing. “This is a first for us. It does pediatric simulations, but it also gives us the ability to do anything an adult simulator would do.”

The new simulator joins two adult simulators in the school’s new sim lab, located in Adams Hall.

“They help to simulate different heart and breathing sounds, you can do CPR and use a defibrillator, so it gives students a way to practice things they would do in clinical setting on a patient who is not really alive,” said Dr. Kasey Chance, Assistant Bachelor of Science in Nursing Coordinator at the Dothan Campus. “The biggest thing is it keeps students on the Dothan Campus from having to drive to Troy for every simulation, which is what they had to do previously.”

Students are excited to be able to practice pediatric medical care, and to be able to do so close to home.

“I feel like a lot of people didn’t know the Dothan Campus had a BSN program, and now that word has gotten out, a lot more people realize they don’t have to drive as far to pursue their dreams of being a nurse,” said Brandy Tice, a nursing student. “It’s made that dream a lot more accessible. This addition of the sim helps. It will make us more comfortable because we can practice from home rather than travel. Having this simulator will also make us more comfortable with the transition from adult to pediatric patients.”

That transition is one nursing student Skyler Webb is particularly excited about.

“The pediatric simulator allows us to practice all the nuances that go along with pediatric patients,” Webb said. “It will increase our practical knowledge of taking care of those pediatric patients. It really helps our confidence practicing in a controlled environment before we go to a clinical setting.”

The BSN program has grown significantly in Dothan since its start in 2016, when it had an initial graduating class of six students. Today, 65 BSN students are enrolled in Dothan.

The growth led the school to change buildings over the summer, moving from Malone Hall to a more spacious area in Adams Hall.

“Right now, this is the perfect space for having bigger classes, a bigger BSN lab plus an MSN lab and then the simulation lab,” Chance said. “Hopefully by the spring semester, we’ll start doing sims here, and also pull some of the Troy Campus BSN students down here to this campus. We’re hoping this will help give us more interaction with the community as well, possibly doing some things with [the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine].”

The Wiregrass is a major hub in the medical field, and Chance sees the BSN program in Dothan as a chance to fill a major need in the community.

“There’s been a lot of burnout in nursing with the rise of COVID-19,” Chance said. “The need has increased more than it was before, and we’re hoping the more we get out in the Wiregrass, the more nurses we can put in this area.”