Bloomsburg University Purchases Software to Enable Student Nurses to Complete Clinicals

For Immediate Release

Date: March 30, 2020
Contact: Tom McGuire, Director of Media Relations

Bloomsburg University Purchases Software to Enable Student Nurses to Complete Clinicals

BLOOMSBURG—Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania nursing students now have a new tool to assist them progress through their academic course work, despite not being onsite in a hospital for clinicals due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Computer simulation software was purchased to allow both undergraduate and graduate nursing students to complete courses they are taking and allow seniors to graduate on time. BU was able to use simulation only because the students were 54 to 61 percent completed with their face to face clinical and theory courses. The decision to go to simulation was not made lightly, and it is not meant as a complete substitute for nursing clinical training.

BU nursing faculty member Kim Olszewski, Breiner Family Endowed Professor of Nursing, suggested purchasing the software through funds provided by Ed and Julie Breiner. Nursing administration expedited the purchase.

“We are so grateful to the generosity of the Breiner family,” said Susan Fetterman, chair of the BU Department of Nursing. “Without them, we would need to extend into the summer months for most of our students versus the few that are extended for clinical currently. They have our sincere thanks.”

“We are honored to be able to help with the purchase of this software,” said Julie Breiner. “Society is seeing now first-hand how valuable it is to have properly trained nurses. Since BU nursing students cannot complete the normal clinical process, this is the next best way to continue their education and give our highly trained faculty a way to educate them.”

Each of the software programs purchased will simulate different scenarios, according to Susan Fetterman, chair of BU’s Department of Nursing.

“The programs are a computerized illustration of a patient. The student and virtual patient can both ask and answer questions regarding symptoms, location of the symptom, and the responses are evaluated as to what is the best response by the student and why,” said Fetterman. “It is a complicated system that allows the faculty to evaluate the student’s ability to take care of a patient with specific pathology. Most importantly, it allows the students to learn how to interact with patients as well as what symptoms to look for and understand for certain pathologies.”

For graduate students, one of the programs purchased, Shadow Health, will have a big impact. 

“This program is an avatar that students interact with to do specific health assessments (digital clinical experiences),” said Olszewski.  “As the student speaks to the avatar to develop a patient history, and do the exam, it will record the dialogue and provide immediate feedback to the student. This program enables student nurses to do a head to toe exam with an avatar, and the program provides the learner with immediate feedback on how to improve their skills.”

Bloomsburg University is consistently ranked in the top 10 of nursing programs in the state by a variety of organizations. BU offers multiple quality nursing degree programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Bloomsburg also offers RN to BSN and RN to BSN to MSN programs, which allow registered nurses to obtain the BSN and MSN online in a condensed timeframe.