Skills and Simulation Labs in Nursing Education

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There are countless benefits of skills and simulation labs in nursing education. During Concordia University Texas’ ABSN track, skills labs help you practice technical nursing skills like IV placement and catheterization. In simulation labs, you’ll work with high-fidelity manikins to practice complex nursing scenarios.

CTX nursing student working with a simulation manikin

While many nursing programs incorporate online learning into their curriculum, in-person learning still plays an essential role in nursing school. Students need to develop hands-on skills and techniques, which are provided by skills and simulation labs in nursing education. Nursing labs are a great way for students to learn how to safely care for patients before they encounter real patients during clinical rotations.

Students at the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing track (ABSN) at Concordia University Texas (CTX) are grateful for the skills and simulation labs in nursing education. So how do nursing labs work, and what benefits do they offer? We’ll give you all the information you’ll need and share a few tips for how you can succeed in nursing school labs.

What Are Nursing Skills Labs?

two CTX ABSN students working together in sim lab

Skills labs offer students foundational instruction on tasks they’ll perform regularly as a nurse. Students learn a variety of tasks, including how to:

  • Measure vitals
  • Interview patients
  • Assess patient status
  • Draw blood
  • Place an IV line and administer IV medication
  • Place a nasogastric tube
  • Place a urinary catheter
  • Safely walk with patients with limited mobility

These skills are a part of the everyday work of nurses, so mastery of them is essential. During nursing skills labs, you’ll practice with manikins under the guidance of your instructor. These labs help ensure that you’re comfortable with the techniques and protocols for each task before you perform these tasks with real patients.

Skills labs are intended to be collaborative, positive, and supportive environments. Not only will you learn technical skills, but you’ll connect with fellow classmates and work closely with your ABSN track instructors at CTX.

CTX ABSN students working in sim lab

What is nursing school like? Discover what to expect in the ABSN track at CTX.

What Are Simulation Labs?

Simulation labs take what you’ve learned in skills labs one step further by applying your knowledge to healthcare scenarios. During each simulation lab, nursing students work in small groups to manage a scenario with a patient simulator manikin. These manikins have many of the functions of real patients — they can speak, bleed, and you can even hear heart and lung sounds.

Throughout the 16-month ABSN track at Concordia University, you’ll take part in many simulation lab scenarios, such as:

  • Childbirth
  • Heart attack
  • Allergic reaction
  • Asthma attack
  • Stroke

By practicing how to respond to these and other scenarios, you’ll gain the skills needed to succeed when you begin your professional nursing career. Furthermore, simulation labs are one of the best strategies for preparing for clinicals in nursing school.

Step into the shoes of an RN - hospital hallway

Why is clinical experience so important for nursing students?

During every simulation lab, nursing instructors will observe your actions through a two-way mirror and speak for the manikin as you progress through the scenario. Afterward, the students will meet with the instructor to discuss what went well during the scenario and what the students can improve for the next scenario. This reflection time will help you get the most out of every lab scenario.

Benefits of Nursing Labs

Why are nursing labs so important for ABSN track students? There are countless benefits of skills and simulation labs in nursing education. While online courses make the ABSN track more accessible, the hands-on learning that takes place in labs and clinicals is irreplaceable.

A few of the benefits of choosing a nursing school with a robust nursing lab curriculum include:

  • Experience with high-fidelity patient simulator manikins
  • The ability to practice skills as much as you need to feel confident
  • A safe and supportive learning environment
  • Guidance and feedback from instructors
  • A small group setting alongside peers
  • The ability to practice varied patient scenarios in a risk-free setting
  • Optimal preparation for clinical rotations

Tips for Succeeding in Nursing Labs

There are several strategies you can use to set yourself up for success before starting nursing labs. It’s important to make the most of these learning opportunities so you can enter your professional nursing career prepared for anything that comes your way.

CTX accelerated nursing student standing in lab room

Here are a few strategies for optimizing your time in the lab:

  1. Come prepared: Complete any preliminary studying or assignments before each session so that you are ready to make the most of your time in the lab.
  2. Ask questions: You’re not going to know all the answers right away, so ask questions early and often. Your instructors are here to help you succeed!
  3. Practice on your own: If you need more time to feel comfortable performing a specific skill, take time during non-lab hours to revisit the lab. You’re free to visit the lab at CTX on your own time for extra practice.
  4. Collaborate with others: Your classmates will work alongside you during the labs, so make the most of this collaboration. Teach each other tasks, answer questions, and provide support and encouragement.
  5. Be OK with making mistakes: As you learn a new skill, you’re likely to stumble and make mistakes; this is part of the learning process. That’s why nursing labs are such an essential part of nursing education. Give yourself some grace, and remember to approach your mistakes as learning opportunities.

Begin Your Nursing Future at CTX!

Now that you understand the role of skills and simulation labs in nursing education, you’re ready to begin the process of becoming a nurse. If you’re looking to transition to a nursing career quickly, you can complete the ABSN track at Concordia University in as few as 16 months. Our track offers the accessibility of online learning in addition to essential in-person learning experiences through nursing labs and clinical rotations.

two CTX ABSN students using medical tools

Wondering how to become a nurse? Follow these seven steps to start your new career.

We offer three start dates each year — in January, May, and August — at both our Austin, Texas, and Dallas, Texas, locations. Do you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or a minimum of 60 non-nursing college credits from a regionally accredited college or university? If so, you may be eligible to apply to the ABSN track.

To learn more about the ABSN track at Concordia University and to find out whether it’s a good fit for you, get in contact with our admissions team by filling out our quick online form. We’re excited to help you begin your dream career as a nurse!