Putting students in simulations in which they can practice real-world situations in a controlled setting so nobody actually is harmed builds students’ skills and confidence. Dr. Anne Morgan’s Interprofessional Simulation allows students to work together much like they will in a true clinical setting and is the reason she was named this year’s Master Teacher.

One day each spring, nursing students in their final semester join students from most of the college’s other Allied Health Programs in a cross-discipline simulation. The nursing students are responsible for the care of eight live patients (played by students) who have varying maladies such as a heart attack, extensive bleeding or constipation, and they must “treat” these patients as they would in a hospital, including hanging IVs, calling a doctor (played by Barb Martin, associate professor of Nursing, and Morgan, Professor, Nursing) for orders and working with other health professionals for various tests required.

The nurses call on students in the Basic Nurse Assistant Training Program to answer call lights, pass breakfast trays, help people use a commode and perform other duties they will do in a clinical setting. They call on Phlebotomy students to perform a simulated blood draw that either is scheduled or done because the nurse identifies it is needed. Every patient must have X-rays taken, so Radiology students either use portable X-ray machines at the bedside or help get the patient on a cart to go to the Radiology Department for the test. Even Respiratory Therapy students get in on the action.

“This simulation is so positive because students get to see other roles. We learn in silos but work together in a hospital. It’s about communication and evaluation,” Morgan said. “Evidence shows no matter what role you play in a simulation, it’s still the same learning experience, and that’s what makes this so good. I just love it.”

Following the two-hour Interprofessional Simulation, participants debrief to discuss their experience. Students say they feel better prepared for real-life patient care, and their reactions are overwhelmingly positive. Some of their comments are:

  • “I would recommend the continuation of this simulation, as it helped to reduce anxiety/fear while interacting with MDs and interpersonal disciplines.”
  • “The interdisciplinary communication and collaboration were great.”
  • “This sim was very educational to me as I got to interact with other students from other specialties and exchange information about programs. I felt like I was in a real hospital as everyone was very professional and organized.”

Morgan created this activity for Moraine Valley students a few years ago when the college created the NUR-251 course. She already had done a version of it for her doctorate project at Governor’s State University, where she graduated in the first cohort of the Doctorate of Nursing Practice in 2010. Morgan graduated from Moraine Valley’s Nursing Program in 1980 and continued her education, earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Nursing. She worked at Palos Hospital for eight years after receiving her associate degree and left to work at Olympia Fields Osteopathic until 1996, when she became an adjunct faculty member at Moraine Valley. She was hired as a full-time instructor in 1999.

“Winning Master Teacher is an honor. I feel grateful to all of the faculty and staff who help me provide this experience to the students each semester. I love it here because it’s a family,” Morgan said.