Nursing, Interpreter students hone skills in simulation with deaf patients

Studies show that health care providers enhance patient outcomes in high-risk situations when they participate in plenty of patient simulation exercises to mimic real-world scenarios.

Winchell Medical

But what about situations that simply tend to make a patient-care provider unsure how to interact, such as when a deaf patient presents with an illness that is not life threatening?

Recently, students in the Department of Nursing joined students in the Interpreter Education Program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to practice exactly that type of scenario.

Students from both programs had the chance to benefit from the feedback provided by deaf patients who role played in the UALR SimCare Interprofessional Health Center, a 9,500 square feet, four unit, 22-bed simulation hospital for the training of nursing and allied health professionals.

UALR’s Dr. Jeff Carmack, an assistant professor of nursing and a member of the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation & Learning, said the simulation environment and interdisciplinary approach provided students an excellent learning opportunity.

“In this safe environment, nursing students learned such protocol as avoiding speaking of the deaf patient in the third person and looking at the patient during the interaction, as opposed to the tendency to look at the interpreter,” Carmack said.

Richard MedicalOther members of the interdisciplinary faculty team included Raphael (Ray) James, an instructor of 22 years with the UALR Interpreter Education Program, Sara Fruechting, Missy Carmack, and Justin Roark .

“The efforts of this team provided excellent feedback for future nurses and interpreters,” said Dr. Carmack.

Dr. Carmack also credits the investment the department and university made in the SimCare Interprofessional Health Education Center, which re-opened a little more than one year ago, as a major factor in hosting a high-caliber simulation experience.

SimCare offers the ability to broadcast live from the patient’s bedside to any of the three classroom spaces on the second floor, bringing patient care from the bedside to the classroom for dynamic, multimedia content delivery.

Although simulated patient care is not new to UALR, SimCare’s environmental accuracy has seen a marked increase since moving to its new home on the first floor of the Nursing Building, according Dr. Carmack.

In addition to working with the UALR Department of Nursing for a medical simulation, the Interpreter Education Program affiliates itself with numerous outside organizations to simulate a variety of vocational, religious, mental health, video relay services, social, legal, and political services for deaf persons.

For more on the Interpreter Education Program, contact 501.569.3169. For more on the SimCare Interprofessional Health Center, contact 501.569.8081.


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