Nursing Students Benefit from Video Technology

Article excerpt

AT RENTON TECHNICAL COLLEGE IN RENTON, WASHINGTON, A VIDEO SYSTEM THAT CAPTURES AND RECORDS LIVE IMAGES IS ENHANCING THE EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR STUDENTS IN THE NURSING PROGRAM.

ONE KEY TO THE SUCCESS OF RENTON Technical College's training programs is that they are designed to replicate the work environment and to train students on equipment used in today's workplace. While automotive students study at approved automotive repair centers, nursing students enrolled in the allied health program learn their skills by caring for patients of various age groups during acute and chronic stages of diseases, surgery and rehabilitation. They are able to practice what they've learned in the Nurses Learning Resource Center and obtain clinical experience in acute hospitals and/or skilled nursing facilities.

Renton's Nurses Learning Resource Center, which was recently redesigned and streamlined to facilitate hands-on training, has eight beds. Students train on Laerdal SimMan(TM) patient simulators, which are programmed to mimic actual patients by mimicking a variety of sounds, including a heart synchronized with ECG, left and right lung, bowel, coughing, vomiting, moaning, and even voice. These state-of-the-art computerized mannequins test the students' clinical and decision-making skills during realistic scenarios.

Capturing the Action

Capturing and recording live images from the rooms has proven to be one of the most successful teaching methods instituted at Renton Tech. Instructors are able to monitor and record students as they make their rounds via ELMO PTC-110R ceiling-mounted video cameras. These cameras are capable of providing 360-degree visuals of the activity in the rooms as well as close-ups of students and patients. Images from the cameras are displayed on 17" LCD monitors at the head of each bed, so that all of the students in the room can clearly see what is taking place.

The video images from the cameras are sent to a central station where instructors control the cameras and view everything that is happening. Using a single 17" AMX touch-based control panel, instructors can select any one of the eight cameras, pan the room, see head-to-toe views of patients on the control panel's video window, zoom in for close-ups, and monitor students live reactions during training. The system can quickly access camera presets to immediately display images from six specific areas at a finger's touch.

Heather Stephen-Selby, Renton Tech's dean for allied health, developed the digital system's concept based on an analog system she had developed and implemented for a community college more than 10 years ago.

"I knew that it would greatly benefit our students," she says, "so when we upgraded the Nurses Learning Resource Center, I discussed our requirements with Tony Locke at Master Design (formerly Audio Visual Frontiers), the company that designed the system, recommended the equipment, and eventually installed the system for us."

Stephen-Selby explains that the small cameras provide the high-resolution images and the low-profile design that are required for this type of training. …