Page 17

Upstate Spring 14 Magazine Online

With practice, they will feel more comfortable doing these same things in a hospital setting and with real patients,” she emphasized. “When students immerse themselves into a realistic patient environment, they are able to engage in the behaviors that require critical thinking, competency, therapeutic communication and professional role behavior. They then created interactive and selfdirected scripts using the virtual platform “Second Life.” “Through this virtual environment, student nurses can share information and can even look more closely at community health,” Amendolair said. “They can assess patient safety and their environment, administer oral medications, provide post-partum care and provide patient education – including breastfeeding and infant care.” Amendolair said that the program keeps students motivated by allowing them to earn points as they work through various steps of the exercises. The program is used more as an alternative simulator exercise and works perfectly for both traditional and non-traditional students, regardless if they are studying on the main campus in Spartanburg or at the University Center Greenville campus. The virtual community offers a glimpse of different cultures, socio-economic conditions, and a variety of health conditions, Amendolair said. “Student avatars will interact with simulated clients, families and the community environment,” Amendolair said. “They will walk through the Second Life community to evaluate the level of safety, available community resources, and have immediate access to current healthcare information.” Students can access it 24 hours day, seven days a week. And, they can interact with other students and practice applying their knowledge learned in class in a realistic setting. Amendolair said the simulations helps students build confidence, as they are practicing on virtual patients in a “safe” environment. “With practice, they will feel more comfortable doing these same things in a hospital setting and with real patients,” she emphasized. “When students immerse themselves into a realistic patient environment, they are able to engage in the behaviors that require critical thinking, competency, therapeutic communication and professional role behavior.” Even with technological issues at times, Amendolair observed that they have found that those students who have used the web simulator come away more aware of the details of the exercise. “It’s an added value for our students. It not only educates them, but it entertains them,” she said. It’s a diverse educational tool for an educational endeavor and has been used in teaching art, engineering and many other programs, in addition to healthcare. Amendolair noted this is a program she and her team hope to expand over time. “We are looking at creating activities like fire safety, psychiatric nursing – group therapy, adult health/intensive care nursing activities,” Amendolair added. She said the hope is to create as many simulated exercises as possible to allow students to practice, explore and learn what it is like to be a nurse. “We hope that instructors will keep coming to us with ideas,” Amendolair said. “We try to look at it like there is nothing that can’t be done. It just at times requires us to sit and to think about how to build it.” School of Nursing Professor Receives Exclusive Award Dr. Darlene Amendolair, an assistant professor in the Mary Black School of Nursing at USC Upstate, was one of 15 researchers to be named a 2014 Breakthrough Award winner by the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of South Carolina. She received the award during a dinner April 24 at the Capital City Club in Columbia. Each year, the Office of Research recognizes outstanding research and scholarly activity of exceptional junior faculty from all disciplines across the USC system. This recognition can contribute to recipients’ career advancement and retention, and helps the university attract the best and brightest young faculty to join USC. Amendolair was recognized for research she spent nearly three years developing in a virtual environment. The virtual simulator she has created with her colleages at the Mary Black School of Nursing is a diverse tool that allows nursing students to practice what they know by applying their skills in a webbased patient scenario. Amendolair was appointed to the rank of assistant professor in nursing at USC Upstate in 2008, after completing her Ph.D. which followed her retirement from her distinguished career in the Army Nurse Corps and as a nurse manager in hospital peri-operative practices. 17  2014 Spring Upstate Magazine 2014 Spring Upstate Magazine


Upstate Spring 14 Magazine Online
To see the actual publication please follow the link above