As coordinator of the Nursing Interventions Lab, Arleta deDianous, MSN, RN, CPNP selects and manages all lab equipment and supplies, observes students in their competency testing, and assists faculty in developing and implementing training modules.
In her nine years at Illinois Wesleyan, she has found that what she most enjoys is working with students.
“It’s amazing; you see how they grow, from when they first come into the lab as sophomores--learning how to check a pulse or take a blood pressure--to the time they leave senior year, where they are doing full head-to-toe assessments, taking care of someone who is very sick, and they are ready to function as a nurse-- just in that short time."
“I like helping students understand what they are learning; answering their questions with questions of my own. I love seeing the proud look on their faces when they realize they were able to answer their own questions. In our lab, we try to stress the importance of always knowing WHY they are doing what they are doing and to not be too task oriented. We want to make sure that students will be very safe practitioners once they graduate."
She believes the Self-Learning Modules used by the School of Nursing help students learn to critically think and problem solve on their own, because they aren’t just copying or repeating what they’ve been shown, but rather work together with peers to complete an assignment, practicing skills together, and critiquing each other. At IWU, we believe this is one reason that our graduates are such excellent nurses and do so well in leadership positions.
DeDianous, who is a pediatric nurse practitioner, says the most challenging aspect of her work in the Nursing Interventions Lab is keeping up with technology.
“It is advancing so rapidly. We want students to be able to see and practice in the lab with whatever equipment they are going to be using at the clinical sites.”
Equipment in the lab includes a functioning ventilator, EKG machine, electronic medical record (EMR), neonatal equipment, fully stocked crash cart, plus various IV pumps to name a few. In addition, students work with patient simulators--low, medium and high fidelity (SimMan®) manikins, learning initially to take vital signs and progressing to a full resuscitation.
“Whatever equipment, such as an IV pump, that students will be using at their clinical site, we will have in the lab, so they are able to practice and become comfortable away from the patient's bedside. They are able to stay calm and problem solve "beeping equipment", and focus on their patients instead of focusing on a machine or pump.”
The same principle is involved in presenting students with situations using the lab’s simulated manikins. The high fidelity SimMan® is capable of running programmed scenarios for conditions developed by our faculty and in-house simulation expert. Currently our library of scenarios includes a post-op assessment, pancreatitis, drug overdose, pediatric asthma exacerbation, sickle cell anemia, congestive heart failure, mock code, community health/diabetes, leadership/multiple patient load, pre-eclampsia, neonatal resuscitation and cardiogenic shock. Faculty use simulations as a teaching strategy in every clinical course at IWU's School of Nursing
“The scenarios are a great way to really get students ready for the hospital setting,” deDianous said. “If there is a situation that we can introduce them to on the manikins, they’ll have less anxiety and be able to learn better with that decreased anxiety level. Students usually arrive for simulations a little anxious, but when they are completed, they are asking, 'Can we do more?!'--because they feel they have learned so much!"