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Abilene Christian University begins first in-house nursing program, uses advanced simulators

By Cassandra Webb, cwebb@ktxs.com
Published On: Sep 10 2013 04:20:27 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

This is the first year Abilene Christian University will have an in-house nursing program.

Before now, students in their junior year were learning elsewhere and partnering with other universities.

Why bring them home?

"I think many times students felt like when they got to that junior year, experiences at Patty Hanks, they almost felt like they left the campus," said Marcia Straughn, instructor at the school of nursing.

One of the perks of the in-house program is the three high-fidelity simulators.

"It provides a hands-on experience in an environment that they [students] often won't get in a real nursing school," said CJ Wilson, instructor at the school of nursing. "It gives us a chance to be fully prepared for any type of situation they would encounter in real nursing environments beyond what you typically get in nursing school."

Ashley Brown, a nursing student, said it's important to get experience in a lifelike atmosphere, instead of just reading about it in a book.

"It's nerve-wracking doing this here for the first time, but it would be so much more nerve-wracking if I were doing it for the first time on a real patient," Brown said. "And I think our patients will get much better care."

The program currently has 52 students enrolled.

The cost of the simulators range from $27,000 to $60,000.

Scenarios are recorded so students can watch them back and discuss their experiences.

The Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing housed nursing students from the three major universities in Abilene, but now only has Hardin-Simmons University and McMurry University students.

But Howard Payne University in pending final approval for their accredited program, which will be in conjunction with Patty Hanks.

Clinical work for that program will be completed at Brownwood Regional Medical Center.