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  • Fairbury News staff

Seeing through a nurse's eyes

PC High School students witness health simulations from a mobile healthcare unit Tuesday.

Five-year-old Hal was involved in a motor vehicle accident and received a head injury while a baby girl is crying and a nearby mother gives birth.

These hospital patients are not real but are lifelike manikins used to train nurses at St. John’s College of Nursing in Springfield. Students at Prairie Central High School in Fairbury were able to assess different medical situations thanks to the St. John’s health care simulation mobile unit which made a stop at the school Tuesday.

“There is no other mobile simulation unit on this scale in Illinois,” explained Dr. Charlene Aaron, Chancellor for St. John’s College of Nursing.

Aaron, who resides in Fairbury, came up with the idea for the mobile unit. Simulation centers such as this are the number one item potential students look for when searching for a nursing program. Aaron got the idea after learning about another mobile unit in Missouri.

“We have a fantastic simulation center at St. John’s College and I wanted more people and more students throughout Illinois to be able to see what we have to offer for nursing education.”

The idea was been very successful as they have traveled to other hospitals, providing continuing education for practicing nurses. This unit has also been to community colleges to help educate nursing students along with a number of schools to give kids a glimpse of what a nursing career looks like.

“We certainly hope they’ve been inspired to think about a healthcare career,” said Aaron.

Computerized manikins allow Aaron and her team to simulate any type of health condition so nursing students can practice taking care of a particular illness such as heart disease or diabetes.

“It allows the nursing students a chance to respond appropriately and sometimes that doesn’t happen – they don’t respond appropriately every time and that’s OK.”

Since it is a safe learning environment, students have the chance to repeat the various health scenarios over and over through repetitive learning. They learn to work together as a healthcare team, improving communication and building confidence before going out into real-life healthcare settings.

Aaron was joined during the stop in Fairbury by Dr. Linda Blakely and simulationist Jeremiah Young.

Since Aaron and her husband, Doug, currently reside in Fairbury and are from here, they have chosen to give back to the community.

“Today, my husband and I are announcing that we are going to be creating a scholarship for a Prairie Central High School student that chooses to come to St. John’s College for a nursing education.”

According to Aaron, they are proud of Prairie Central and what the district does for students. The hope is to continue growing more nurses right at home which is where Aaron got her start.

A student at Prairie Central high School holds a computerized manikin baby.

St. John's mobile unit displays different healthcare scenarios on Tuesday in Fairbury.

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