Illuminating InSights: Virtual Learning and Simulations at Duquesne University’s School of Nursing

by Anastasia Klipa and Ellen Durkin

November 23, 2020

Orange backgrounf with Illumination Insights header, and then images of Rosanna Henry and Sue Williams

Welcome to Illuminating InSights, our new blog interview series. Here, our team speaks with programs and professionals to learn about their experience in navigating various areas and topics related to healthcare training and education. In this post, our team spoke with Duquesne University School of Nursing’s Rosanna Henry, Assistant Dean for Clinical Skills and Simulation Education, and Sue Williams, Nursing Instructor. As participants in our Paid Pilot Program, we wanted to know their experience with using our InSight Platform and adapting new instruction techniques.

Rosanna shared a brief history and the current status of Duquesne’s simulation lab and products:

Rosanna: “Twenty-one years ago, we were in College Hall in one room that had [hospital] beds that we were still hand cranking. So we've come an awfully long way [to arrive at] the center that you see here [today]. Our first simulator came probably in 2004, and it was back in the stages where we have the simulator, [now] what do we do with it? So it took us a while, probably until we received some training from the Medical College of Georgia that we got really moving. And that was probably 2008... This is the third [simulation] lab I've been in since I arrived...”

Duquesne University now has a 7,000 square foot simulation lab with specialized rooms such as a fundamental skills lab and a debriefing room. Due to Covid-19, Sue and Rosanna shared that they are using pre-recorded simulations to show current students techniques and procedures.

Rosanna: “We had embedded critical thinking questions so the faculty and their small group would watch this prerecorded simulation. It would stop at the point where we thought it was important to introduce or make sure the student understood. Why did the nurse do this? We asked them to critique the performance. What would you have done differently? What would you have done better? And [additional questions] in the debriefing. So not only did it stop and start and insert critical thinking questions, the debriefing was just as it would have been if we were in person. We also then went out to the Internet and found some YouTube videos of simulation scenarios that fit the criteria of the curriculum. And we did take that and embed critical thinking questions in there. So we turned what we already did into making it virtual.”

For health assessment, students would ordinarily be in a room with a manikin while instructors observed their skills. Critical for patient care, these classes have continued in the virtual classroom setting using role playing.

Rosanna: “Sue, myself, and [other] faculty, we played the patient wherever we were in our dining room or home office... And then [the students] asked us questions...We were able to list our history and then they had to say what they would assess next...we told them what the findings were...”

Coronavirus has disrupted many industries, and nursing schools are no exception. Sue and Rosanna shared some of the challenges they faced in simulation training; which include limited resources, time, and faculty training.

Rosanna: “As our enrollment has grown, long gone are the days when I set up the lab or a simulation and I ran it myself, evaluated [the students], and did the debriefing by myself. If each [student] comes through here on a clinical course, that's an extraordinary amount of simulation hours. It might take us two weeks to get everyone through the same simulation.”

Sue: “ I mean, we already have two simulation rooms and [we] are trying to get all the students through that.”

Rosanna: “Without our generous alumni, we couldn't afford the resources that we have. [Simulators] are not typically supplied by the university because it's just not feasible when one simulator costs $75,000+. The challenges are resources, time and making sure the faculty that work with us have the knowledge. It's really hard to get them available for faculty development in simulation.”

Lumis’ InSight Platform counters many of the challenges identified, as it is not as costly compared to other systems, it is easily portable, it has quantitative feedback features, and provides an immersive learning experience for students with little to no faculty in the room. This is especially important since COVID-19 has strained instruction capacity. Duquesne University values include “leading edge technologies and curriculum”, and those values have been demonstrated throughout our Paid Pilot with the Duquesne. Unlike other simulation solutions, the InSight Platform can integrate many different aspects of curriculum into its software, and Duquesne worked closely with Lumis to develop a uniquely personable experience.

Sue:“What I appreciate is that working with Lumis, they were able to tailor it for our needs using our information. I think it made the most sense to our students. The augmented reality that we project onto that mannequin looks exactly the way it looks in this textbook so that has been helpful because the students then can relate to that and see it in 3D.”

This experience is different from working with a high fidelity simulator, as students often struggle to grasp what is happening physiologically.

Rosanna: “I think when students struggle with a static mannequin and they wonder why they can't hear something, they don't realize they're in the wrong location. So if they visualize where the heart is... on the Lumis InSight Platform,... well, no wonder you can't hear it because you're way, way too far. They can see...and it makes it more understandable.”

Sue and Rosanna reflected on their students’ experience using the InSight Platform during the Paid Pilot Program and the service that Lumis provides.

Sue: “The students were excited. They were engaged. They were happy to be part of it, to see this new technology, to make sense to them. I mean... to see them come into the room and...their eyes get so big. It's a good learning experience. Very positive.”

Rosanna: It's been good for us. It's been good for the students. It's not a ninety five thousand dollars manikin. [Doug Nelson, Lumis CEO] was here the entire time, stayed with us the whole time, and worked with each student, whereas other companies might drop it off (the simulator) and run. Sometimes you just have to wait on the phone for twenty five minutes before someone can help you. And if you're in the middle of a simulation, and you have 10 scheduled that day, that isn't helping you.”

When asked what they would tell a nursing school considering implementing the InSight Platform into their curriculum:

Rosanna: “We’d wholeheartedly endorse it and would be willing to talk with them if they wanted to talk with us on how we did it.”

We would like to thank Duquesne University’s School of Nursing for participating in our Paid Pilot Program and Rosanna Henry and Sue Williams for taking the time to speak with us at length on their experience. Duquesne’s School of Nursing is nationally ranked, has an 83 year history of teaching students in the heart of Pittsburgh, PA, and offers undergraduate, graduate and online nursing programs. For more information about our Paid Pilot Program and our products, please reach out to our team at!

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