Geriatric Simulators Teach Empathy to Future Health Care Workers in California

Kathy Thompson, LVN, is an instructor at the Health Academy at La Sierra High School in Riverside, CA. A partnership with the county office, the high school, Kaiser Permanente and local universities and colleges, the academy has been in place since 1991 as a way to offer health care pathway training to students who may not otherwise have exposure to these careers. Thompson’s senior students spend the fall semester at the school learning how to care for patients, then spend four days a week at the local hospital in various departments alongside health care professionals.

“I very much like the hands-on activities that drive home the realities of aging,” Thompson explained. “When working with adolescents, they are so invincible. It is good for them to experience the vulnerability of the elderly and for them to live in their shoes, even if for a class period.”

In the spring of 2018, she saw Realityworks’ Geriatric Sensory Impairment Kit and Geriatric Medication Management Simulation Kit in action at the California Educating for Careers conference and decided they would be a good addition to her program. Designed for secondary and postsecondary education programs, these kits allow users to experience a variety of age-related physical challenges. The director of the program saw Thompson’s enthusiasm for the geriatric training simulators and was able to support the addition to the program thanks to available finances through grant funds.

“At 17 or 18, the students have no real concept of what it is like to age,” Thompson observed. “Students were hesitant to even touch the elderly and could not relate to their circumstances of living. I had no way to help prepare them for this part of the experience.”

Thompson made a two-week unit using the two kits and the accompanying curricula. She addresses one lesson per class; students must take notes during a slide presentation, experience the impact of the specific condition and reflect on the impact.

Read the rest of Kathy Thompson’s story here.

Learn more about the Realityworks Geriatric Sensitivity Training Tools here.

Sneak Peeks and Presentations Coming Your Way at VISION 2018

We’re getting excited to see everyone at  ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2018. This year we will be introducing new innovative learning tools as well as giving you a peek at products that will be coming in 2019. We’ve recently added new products to our Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Health Sciences pathways, including:

Bovine Breeder artificial insemination simulator with pregnancy palpation

Twin Pregnancy Model KitDiabetes Education Kit

Coming in 2019, Realityworks will be launching:

  • Bovine Injection
  • Child Care Center Design Kit
  • Cow Anatomy Flip Chart
  • Ostomy Trainer
  • New Anatomical models
  • and so much more!

Not only will we be giving attendees a sneak peek at new products, we will also be giving 6 presentations this year.

Make sure you stop by booth 723 and try out all of our interactive training tools for yourself!

4 Tips for Building a CNA Pathway Program

When you begin to build your certified nursing assistant pathway plan of study, there are many places you can start and resources to go to.

Plan of Study Worksheets – Advance CTE has put together a great page featuring the 16 Career Clusters from the National Career Clusters Framework along with the pathways that fall under each cluster. The website, www.careertech.org/career-clusters, has links to each cluster and tools like Knowledge & Skills Statements and editable Plans of Study worksheets.

Six Key Elements of Career Pathways – Career Pathways Toolkit: A Guide for System Development is another great resource and includes the Six Key Elements of Career Pathways. It was designed by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration and the Manhattan Strategy Group to help guide local and state teams through the essential components necessary for developing a comprehensive career pathways system.

Common Career Technical Core Standards – One very helpful place to go is cte.careertech.org and the Common Career Technical Core Standards for Health Science. This page includes specific measurable performance objectives for the Health Science Career Cluster in General and as well as the Therapeutic Services Pathway which is the pathway CNA programs fall under. Review the standards that apply to the pathway to ensure that you are teaching these basic core competencies in your program.

Build an Advisory Council – Involving local healthcare industry leaders and clinical professionals in your pathway development is critical. How can you understand what local employers are looking for in a health care professional if you don’t ask?  Consider putting together a health care advisory council.  Choose these from a variety of settings and levels of responsibility to get a variety of viewpoints and input.

For more great info on launching your program, check out the webinar below!

How 3 Amazing Schools Are Preparing High School Kids for Health Science Careers

Note: This article was originally published by We Are Teachers on July 9, 2018. The entire article can be found here.

Health science careers make up more than half of the top 20 fastest-growing occupations nationwide. Projections show that the United States will need 5.6 million more healthcare workers by 2020. It’s no wonder that more high schools are offering programs to help prepare students for careers in the medical field. Here’s a look at three schools offering successful and innovative approaches to healthcare education.

Thomas Edison Career and Technical Education High School – Jamaica, New York

Thomas Edison CTE School has a long history of offering healthcare-related programs. It is the only school in New York City with a medical assisting program approved by the state education department. While the courses offered prepare the 2,100 students for various careers, the medical assisting program is extremely popular. Dr. Margaret Savitzky, a medical assisting instructor at the school, points to several key reasons why the program is so successful.

STUDENTS CAN LEAVE WITH CERTIFICATION.

After completing their course work at Thomas Edison CTE, students can take their exams and get hired. “The medical assisting program is a three-year program. It culminates in a certificate in medical assisting when students pass the national certification exam,” says Dr. Savitsky. “This gives students the unique opportunity to leave high school and begin working in the healthcare field.”

THE CURRICULUM IS COMPREHENSIVE.

There are layers of learning that need to occur before a student is ready for a health science career. And as students continue through the program, all those layers build upon each other and get increasingly advanced.

“As sophomores, students study more general topics. Courses cover the history of healthcare, healthcare law, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, and first aid,” explains Dr. Savitzky. “During their junior year, students focus on the clinical skills. And as seniors, they learn the administrative tasks that a medical assistant performs. These include appointment scheduling, patient reception, triaging, insurance-related tasks, as well as résumé writing and preparation for the national certification exams.”

“Students come back to visit. They tell me that the program gave them a very solid foundation to help them in their studies,” says Dr. Savitsky.

STUDENTS GET HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE.

In addition to book learning, the students regularly conduct activities that let them practice essential skills, such as vital sign measurements, venipuncture, capillary puncture, ECG testing, urinalysis, pediatric measurements and visual acuity testing, and pulmonary function testing.

Prior to completing the program, “students are offered the opportunity to participate in volunteer internships with local healthcare facilities to see healthcare practice in the real world,” says Dr. Savitzky. This allows students to fine-tune their areas of interest, get a glimpse into working in a health science career, and establish relationships with potential employers.

Click here to read the about the two other great programs that are helping to prepare their students for careers in Health Science.

For more information on the Health Science line from Realityworks, check out the video below:

Customer Spotlight: Dove Healthcare Nursing Program

By Emily Kuhn, Realityworks Communications Specialist

Less than five minutes into my first conversation with Bobby Scanlon, it was clear to me that she is in the right profession.

A nursing educator at Dove Healthcare, a long-term care facility in western Wisconsin, Scanlon has spent over two decades teaching geriatrics and elder care to CNA and nursing students. A lot has changed since she first began teaching, from teaching tools and methods to students’ expectations, but Scanlon’s dedication has only grown – and as a result, she is helping to make a big impact on healthcare education.

Comprised of six skilled nursing facilities, four assisted living facilities and one rehabilitation company, Dove Healthcare serves almost 500 residents and patients every day. As a nursing educator, Scanlon’s job is to teach her CNA, CBRF and CPR students the skills they need to provide quality care. However, Scanlon takes it one step further. Case in point: The reason for my visit with Scanlon that day was to learn more about the unique ways she was using Realityworks’ RealCare™ Geriatric Simulator to help her students develop empathy and geriatric sensitivity, key soft skills for anyone working with elderly patients.

The Geriatric Simulator is a wearable sensitivity suit that enables users to experience a variety of age-related physical challenges, like stiff joints, decreased mobility, visual impairment and loss of sensation. The interactive nature of this learning aid stands in stark contrast against the lecture and textbook teaching methods Scanlon’s own nursing instructors used when she was a student. As Scanlon described her excitement over using the simulator for the first time, and how much she was enjoying finding new ways to incorporate this unique tool into her program, I found myself impressed by Scanlon’s willingness to present her students with a variety of learning opportunities.

Years of teaching have taught Scanlon that to be an effective 21st Century educator, adaptation is key. Embracing new technology and teaching styles can be daunting, but Scanlon has seen the benefits firsthand. Her classes feature a combination of teaching techniques, from traditional lectures and PowerPoint presentations to small group networking opportunities, one-on-one skills practice sessions and of course, interactive learning aids like the Geriatric Simulator.

Scanlon has always sought to teach her students empathy and compassion toward the elderly, sharing with me that she regularly emphasizes the interactions her students have with residents during clinicals. Of course, there’s nothing like experiencing a lesson for yourself, and that’s what Scanlon does with the Geriatric Simulator. Her students are challenged to complete basic daily tasks like turning the pages of a book, buttoning a shirt, sitting and standing while wearing the full suit, which includes a walker and visual impairment glasses. The experiences make an impact; I was able to observe a CNA class as they tried the suit, and statements of “Oh my gosh,” “Oh wow” and “I didn’t know this is what they felt like!” came from every student, along with many statements of understanding.

Those statements of understanding – those “aha” moments – are why Scanlon exposes her students to these types of learning experiences. Throughout our conversations, she repeatedly stated that her goal by the end of each class is to “pass on my passion for working with the elderly to my students.” Her dedication and passion for elder care will drive her continued success, and as she’s already observed, empower her students to positively impact the lives of the elderly as well.

What are you doing to create “aha” moments in your classroom? Share your ideas in the comments, then watch how Dove Healthcare students reacted to our Geriatric Simulator by watching this video.

It’s All About Experience: 5 Tips for Engaging Today’s Students in Elder Care from a Seasoned Nursing Educator

by Emily Kuhn, Communications Specialist for Realityworks, Inc.

Note: This article was originally published by the National Consortium for Health Science Education in their Spring newsletter. The entire article can be found here.

It’s been 25 years since Bobby Scanlon began teaching geriatrics, and to say that a lot has changed is an understatement. Twenty-first century learning aids and technology have transformed what today’s students expect to experience in a classroom. Tech-savvy and not afraid to question what they’re hearing or seeing, today’s students love to learn, but they aren’t afraid to ask “why.” What’s more, they crave hands-on, real-world learning opportunities.

For some educators, the idea of embracing new technology and teaching styles to provide such opportunities can be daunting. However, if there’s anything Scanlon has learned in almost three decades of teaching, it’s that adaptation is not only vital to be an effective 21st century educator, but it can truly help transform your students’ education — and help them be that much more successful in their careers.

“One of my goals by the end of each class is to pass on my passion for working with the elderly to my students,” said Scanlon, who is a nurse educator with Dove Healthcare in West Central Wisconsin. “If I’m able to get even three students from a class of 10 to stay in long-term care, then that’s three more people who can touch the lives of the elderly. So I’m always looking for new ways to present a topic to my students and get them excited about learning.”

True to her word, Scanlon regularly incorporates new ideas and teaching methods into the CNA, CBRF, and CPR courses she teaches for Dove, but there are a few strategies she now consistently uses to ensure her students are presented with a variety of learning opportunities – and that there is a balance. Click here to read the 5 tips Scanlon recommends for engaging today’s health science students in elder care.

For more information on Realityworks’  innovative tools for skill training for health science programs check out the video below and visit the Health Science page.

 

Resources for Starting a Health Science Pathway

When you begin to build your health science pathway plan of study, there are many places you can start and resources to go to. Here are a few to help you get started or even to help revamp and existing program:

Plan of Study Worksheets – Advance CTE has put together a great page featuring the 16 Career Clusters from the National Career Clusters Framework along with the pathways that fall under each cluster. The website, www.careertech.org/career-clusters, has links to each cluster and tools like Knowledge & Skills Statements and editable Plans of Study worksheets.

Six Key Elements of Career Pathways – Career Pathways Toolkit: A Guide for System Development is another great resource and includes the Six Key Elements of Career Pathways. It was designed by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration and the Manhattan Strategy Group to help guide local and state teams through the essential components necessary for developing a comprehensive career pathways system.

Common Career Technical Core Standards – One very helpful place to go is cte.careertech.org and the Common Career Technical Core Standards for Health Science.  They include specific measurable performance objectives for the Health Science Career Cluster in General and as well as each pathway within the cluster.  Review the standards that apply to the pathway you are developing to ensure that you are teaching these basic core competencies in your program.  This is part of the 6 key elements where you are designing the education and training programs.

Industry-Recognized Certifications – There are several organizations to look to when it comes to certifications. The NHA currently offers 8 certifications which can be found on their website: https://www.nhanow.com/certifications NOCTI has 5 different categories of related certifications: Job Ready, Pathway, State Collaboration, Employability Skills and Certificate & Partner. The American Medical Certification Association has many certifications available in 3 categories: Clinical Certification, Administration Certification and Career Advancement/Secondary Certifications.

National Organizations with Assessments or Competitions – The National Consortium for Health Science Education (NCHSE) offers a Health Science Assessment. The assessment adds the credibility of a national certification of achievement, satisfies Perkins requirements for technical attainment, validates student mastery of foundational healthcare knowledge and skills, and can shape curriculum delivery through teacher reports identifying students’ success and areas of greatest need by standard.  Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) sponsors dozens of knowledge and skills competitions at the state and national level relating to a wide variety of health science topics. HOSA Offers 56 Competitive Events that are aligned to the National Healthcare Foundation and Accountability Criteria outlined by the National Consortium for Health Science Education.

For more great information and resources on starting your health science pathway, take a few minutes to check out our latest webinar below:

2018 Catalogs Are Here!

It’s here — our 2018 Catalogs are ready to be shared! They are full of details on all the learning aids and resources we offer for teaching family and consumer sciences, health sciences, agriculture, trade skills, and more.

There are also several new items in our 2018 FACS catalog, including:

We offer a variety of exciting tools (and curriculum!) you can use to engage your students and help them develop skills in human services, and education and training.

Realityworks is continuing to develop new tools you can use to engage your students and help them develop clinical nursing skills and soft, patient-focused skills. New in our 2018 Health Science catalog:

Our 2018 Agriculture catalog features tools you can use to engage your students and help them develop skills in animal and vet science, plant science, manufacturing and more. Newly featured this year are:

This year our 2018 Trade Skills catalog includes many great tools to develop skills in welding, electrical wiring, manufacturing and more.

  • Pathway packages to jump-start your welding, electrical or advanced manufacturing courses
  • Portable workstations to keep classrooms organized and provide more workspace
  • New webinars and other opportunities for professional development

We offer a variety of exciting tools (and curriculum!) you can use to engage your students and help them develop their skills. Take time to check out these great products, get a quote, or place an order online today!

Teaching In-Demand Skills: How Healthcare Educators Engage Today’s Students

By Emily Kuhn, Realityworks Communications Specialist

Healthcare educators are changing the way they teach patient care skills, and for good reason. Not only is U.S. demand for healthcare expected to grow twice as fast as the national economy in the next eight years, but the amount of older Americans are retiring in droves. In fact, this 2018 study projects that within just a few decades, older people will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.

As demand for nursing and geriatric care increases, so will the importance of using learning aids that truly engage new generations of healthcare students — students with shorter attention spans, better technical skills and a stronger desire for authentic, real-world learning experiences than their predecessors (Hawkins, 2015).

“Curriculum may not have changed, but students are definitely changing,” said Kasey Carlson, RN, MSN, M.Ed. A nursing faculty member and educational technologist at a Wisconsin college, Carlson was a registered nurse for six years and has taught in the healthcare field for more than 10. “We used to do a lot of textbook and lectures, with very little hands-on experience. When I went to school, we didn’t have a whole lot of technology; a standard mannequin was a brand-new concept to us. But now we are looking at a generation that has been brought up with multimedia and video games. They are more real-life focused. They remember more if they have an experience.”

Teaching Today’s Digital Natives

You may have heard the term “digital native” used to describe today’s students, most of whom were born after 1995 and are therefore members of “Generation Z.” They are considered digital natives because they grew up with technology, and have never known a world without media.

This means that the standard classroom model where an educator stands in front of the class and lectures just doesn’t work. Generation Z students want to be successful — in fact, the desire to change the world is a hallmark of this generation — but they will disengage with the discussion if they don’t feel connected or if they don’t see the relevance (Wotapka, 2017).

Generation Z students are accustomed to immediate feedback. Current technology enables them to learn anything, anytime, anywhere. The world is at their fingertips. Thus, these students are not satisfied simply hearing about a topic. They want to see it, touch it and feel it.

That’s why Miranda Kessler, RN-BSN, is using interactive tools like age simulation suits in her health occupations program at Nicholas County Career and Technical Education Center in West Virginia. Not only do her feedback-hungry students thrive when given opportunities to engage in active learning opportunities, but such activities can help them develop employability skills like critical thinking, problem solving and attention to detail — skills that some hiring managers have found lacking in today’s students (Dishman, 2016).

In the two decades she has been helping 11th- and 12th-graders prepare to obtain their state nursing assistant certifications, Kessler has seen firsthand the way her students’ learning styles have changed, and she strives to incorporate interactive teaching tools like simulators as often as she can.

“Years ago, everything was done with paper and pencil. You read the book, did the worksheet, took a written test and moved on until you got through the material and it was time for clinicals,” said Kessler. “Now, technology is front and center. Anything that captures students’ attention and can get them excited and make them want to learn is welcome in my classroom. And ‘cool tools’ like simulators always keep my kids’ attention.”

Cool Tools for Engaging Generation Z

When Kessler saw literature for the RealCare Geriatric Simulator at an education conference, she went straight to her administrator to share the discovery.

“When I told my principal about the simulator and he saw how excited I was to implement it into my program, he bought in immediately,” recalled Kessler. “He was actually the first person to try it when it arrived! He was amazed by how it changed his normal, routine activities and made everything feel much more physically demanding.”

The Geriatric Simulator sensitivity suit allows students to experience a variety of age-related physical challenges. It includes a weighted vest, ankle weights, wrist weights, elbow restraints, knee restraints, gloves, a cervical collar and visual impairment glasses. When students try to accomplish tasks like walking around, opening pill bottles and buttoning shirts, they begin to understand the way physical challenges like decreased mobility, stooped posture, cataracts and glaucoma can affect daily life.

“I wanted to be able to teach my students to be more understanding and empathetic with the aging process once we made it into our clinical rotation at the local nursing home,” Kessler said of why she incorporated the simulator into her program. “I wanted them to understand why the residents moved so slowly and I wanted them to learn to be patient and kind while working with them.”

Bobby Scanlon is a nurse educator with Dove Healthcare in West Central Wisconsin. With over two decades of experience teaching geriatric care, she knows how important it is to teach her students empathy and compassion toward the elderly. Scanlon regularly emphasizes the interactions her students have with residents during clinicals and encourages them to observe and consider why residents behaved in certain ways.

However, those skills can be difficult to teach without giving students the chance to experience for themselves what their patients are going through. When Scanlon discovered the Geriatric Simulator, she didn’t hesitate to try it in her classroom – and saw immediate results.

“Change can be hard, but when I see something and it excites me, then I’m going to try to incorporate it in class as soon as possible,” said Scanlon. “With this simulator, students don’t need to wait until they get to the floor to see what’s happening with the residents – they can feel and experience it for themselves. And what’s more, it brings excitement into the classroom.”

The Geriatric Medication Management Kit is an interactive learning ad that enables students to experience a loss of tactile sensation and visual impairments while trying to manage multiple prescriptions. Like the Geriatric Simulator, it was created to help healthcare students understand the unique challenges so many elderly people face every day. Taking multiple medications is the norm for most older adults, after all; a 2017 study showed that 87% of seniors take more than a single prescription drug and almost 40% take 5 or more.

According to Carlson, tools like wearable simulators and interactive learning aids can help healthcare educators address employability skills like empathy and sensitivity toward the elderly.

“Empathy is one of the most difficult things to teach a student. It’s something students have to experience and grow themselves, versus being told to do it,” Carlson said. “The hands-on component allows students to think critically through a procedure, but also focus on the patient, and on professionalism.”

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2017, and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. ACTE members, log in to read the original article on page 18 of the October issue of Techniques. Not a member? Click here to join.

Ready to learn more about the tools and resources that are available for teaching empathy and geriatric sensitivity to today’s 21st Century healthcare students? Click here.

College and Career Ready?

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

In the last 20 years, standards-based education has been focused on the goal of creating a literate and economically competitive workforce. There are a host of national and state-specific educational standards that are intended to provide a framework for educators to use to build a curriculum that is explicit, relevant, and successful. That’s where we can help.

Our new product line of nursing task trainers, simulators and models come with comprehensive ready-to-use curricula. Each individual curriculum includes detailed facilitator instructions, handouts, slide presentations and assessment tools that align to several sets of health science-related standards.  To make using our curricular resources even more user friendly, we have completed an alignment to several sets of health science-related standards.

The National Health Science Standards, developed by the National Consortium for Health Science Education provide a clear and consistent understanding of industry and post-secondary expectations for health science teachers. The cross-walk document provided at this link identifies which standards the various curricula align to.

The Common Career Technical Core (CCTC) is a state-led initiative to establish a set of rigorous, high-quality standards for Career Technical Education.  We have identified specific CCTC standards that correlate to each of our health science curricula as well. To access this alignment document, click here.

Helping students learn the skills they need to become successful future healthcare workers is our goal.  We are happy to help provide standards-based curricular resources that ensure students are learning the right skills.