All around the large room, laboring mothers were being triaged, deliveries were happening, newborns were tended to, postpartum moms were assisted and lactation was discussed. It wasn't a large obstetrics suite in a hospital, but a simulation set up at Samuel Merritt University's Sacramento Regional Learning Center. Here, nearly 40 students in the SMU accelerated BSN program recently spent a day learning about labor and delivery during the school's annual Baby Bootie Camp. The ABSN students rotated throughout five stations, learning every role connected with L&D, from triaging the newly laboring mom to caring for the new infant. SMU faculty used special mannequins to simulate the scenarios the students faced, most for the first time.
For the ABSN students, Baby Bootie Camp was preparation for their obstetrics clinical rotation at UC Davis Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center and Sutter Memorial Hospital, Sacramento, and built on their classroom learning. Led by Susan O'Donnell, MSN, RNC, CNM, WHNP, assistant professor, the class was divided into five groups. Each group rotated through the five stations of triage, L&D, postpartum and newborn. Some students came adorned with camouflage to mark the "boot camp" occasion and all came prepared to learn.
The sim lab provided an environment for students to practice and demonstrate the new skills as they learn them.
"Nursing students learn psychomotor, physical assessment and critical-thinking skills necessary for clinical performance," said Rene Clymer-Engelhart, MSN, RN, managing director and assistant professor. "Students have hands-on practice with the equipment and techniques they will need for the practice setting. Working with the mannequins help provide a simulated live interactive experience with realistic heart and breath sounds and movement."
"Using simulation for learning makes it that much more effective," O'Donnell added. "Low tech works well here. The students can see, feel and visualize the process. They're immersed in so many areas in obstetrics, having them move through stations [allows] it to make more sense right away."
Amrit Sandhu, MSN, FNP, RN, adjunct instructor, said students and instructors learn every time a scenario is presented.
"Scenarios are accurate even though we're not using high fidelity mannequins," she said. "We're teaching the students how to anticipate what patients will present with.
"Students live and breathe nursing," she continued. "You don't realize how much you know until you're in the situation. If you give them exposure and an idea of what they'll see in their clinical rotations, the information sticks."
For some students, pregnancy and birth were just concepts before Baby Bootie Camp. For others, it was old hat. Student Trent Dudley, a father of three, said he still learned from the group sessions.
"This is as real as you can get without being with real people," said Dudley, also an EMT. "We're being taught everything I was taught when we were having our kids. Now I'm getting to know the 'why' behind what I was taught, so I can help teach patients."
Dudley, who hopes to work in a NICU after graduation, said the exercise brought back a lot of memories.
"I feel like I've come full circle," he said with a smile. "I know more now."
Practice Makes Perfect
Interior designer Nicole Owston is following her mom's footsteps into nursing. Although she'd seen a birth, Baby Bootie Camp was her first experience with the full spectrum of obstetrics.
"It's more real, fast - a crash course," she said. "We're seeing a lot of what we'll see in our clinical rotations, so we're being prepared to see patients.
"I've seen a birth, and as a woman, I'm a little familiar with the process, but there's a lot more to it than people think," she continued. "We learned ways to prevent pain during labor by learning how to read the monitor strips to know when a contraction is coming, to help mom relax afterward. In postpartum, education is stressed to keep mom and baby healthy. This is really good preparation for the real thing."
"I tell students that labor and delivery, having a baby, it's the most intimate and life-changing experience people can have and we are so privileged to be a part of that and making that connection," O'Donnell said. "Nurses are able to turn a bad situation into a good one often times."