Nursing students participate in a mock ICU lab simulation

From left, senior nursing student Ainslie Sylvest and dietetics and nutritional sciences senior Zarea Collins participate in a mock ICU lab simulation using a case study for Type 1 diabetes.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s School of Human Sciences and the DeWitt School of Nursing completed a nutrition simulation for dietetics students using a case study for Type 1 diabetes.
The simulation, delayed for two years due to COVID-19, was the first of its kind, with third-semester nursing students role-playing as patients and dietetics students role-playing as professionals in a clinical setting.
“This mimics what they’ll see in a hospital setting,” said Justin Pelham, clinical instructor for food, nutrition and dietetics in the School of Human Sciences. “What does a dietitian do in a clinical setting? Can they handle a case study and apply it? I wanted to bring the lab experience to this class.”
The simulation provided hands-on experience for both dietetics students looking to finish their degrees and nursing students wanting to learn more about the patient’s perspective.
Each dietetics student had a 20-minute interval to talk with their patient and then prepare an initial nutrition assessment consisting of assessment, diagnosis, intervention and plan for monitoring and evaluation at a follow-up. Pelham coordinated the event and served as preceptor for his 16 participating students.
During the simulation, a student would sit or stand at bedside with a patient and ask questions from a chart. While some questions were about routine things — age, weight, employment and food history — the student was able to get enough information to pinpoint an important issue, like the necessity for a patient with diabetes to replace the food or beverages they like most if they want their health to improve.
Simulations took place March 29 and 30 at a mock ICU lab at the DeWitt School of Nursing Complex. Due to a partnership with Tarleton State University, some simulations were conducted via Zoom.