Simulator Helps Nursing Students Learn at Southeast Tech

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.-  In the past 50 years, Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls has significantly grown its programs and changed the way they prepare students for careers. A big focus now-a-days is using technology to train students.

“I think the old vo-tech days and the stereotypes that some people still have of technical education is so far from where we are today with the use of technology and how it’s integrated in all of our existing programs. Major change over the last 20 years,” said Southeast Technical Institute President, Bob Griggs.

In the Licensed Practical Nurse Program students use simulators. 

“They allow our students to be able to practice skills in a safe environment, so that way when they are presented with them out in the workforce, they have a little bit of an understanding of how to address that situation,” said Licensed Practical Nurse Instructor, Colette Schwartz.

The simulators are meant to look and feel as much like a real person as possible. They breathe, blink and even talk.  Students can practice different aspects of the job like starting an IV and taking vitals.

“I feel like I’m dealing with a real patient,” said Samhar Debesay, a Licensed Practical Nurse Student.

“It’s actually really cool getting to see what all they can do cause you’d be amazed at some of the stuff they can do,” said Lindsey Wenger, a Licensed Practical Nurse Student.

Some can even simulate giving birth. Students say the simulator helps boost their confidence.

“Because you get to see it start to finish and you will see the simulators do give feedback, so you know where you have areas of improvement,” said Dustin Mcadaragh, a Licensed Practical Nurse Student.

In another room, instructors can control what’s happening to the simulator.

“If they make a mistake or something we feel they’re not catching, we can make it more obvious and if they don’t see that, we can make the patient start to decline,” said Nursing Instructor Dustin Pepper. 

Scenarios are also recorded for students to watch back. That way they can learn from mistakes and be better prepared for the real thing. 

Practicing with the simulators helps students get through the program in just 11 months.

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