Interdepartmental Collaboration: Death and Dying Simulation Experience

For the second time this academic year, Students and faculty in nursing, psychology and theater participated in a two-day simulation experience at the Brenau East campus simulation lab in Gainesville. The experience, held on April 7 and 12, offered junior and senior-level nursing students the opportunity to experience a simulated, “real,” end-of-life scenario and prepare them to care for dying patients and their loved ones.

During the simulations, iStan, a lifelike human simulator portrayed an elderly Brazilian patient on hospice care in a realistic hospital setting. Theater students Marc Anthony Toro, Brissa Lopez, Margaret Todd and Lisa Maliska played the roles the patient’s family members, providing emotional feedback during the loss of their mother. The student nurses practiced providing appropriate care to the dying patient and emotional support and comfort to the family members.

Graduate psychology students Timothy Pierce-Tomlin, Cori Hosch, Becky Kim, Nadya Clontz, Paulette Kennedy and Rupal Patel debriefed the nursing students immediately following each simulation session. University counselor Gay Baldwin and Assistant Professor of Nursing Maureen Vidrine also provided support for all the students during this intense experience.

Students from the Brenau Behavioral Analysis Club helped assure that the day went smoothly. Laura Burke and Savannah Benson provided monitoring for any students that may need counseling. Burke also participated in acting during the sessions.

Brenau faculty members including Dr. Gary Bauman, Margie Gill, Dr. Ann Demling, Perry Daughtry, Gay Baldwin, Dr. Sandy Allen, Dr. Sandra Greniewicki, Dr. Amy Malcom, Dr. Maureen Vidrine, Melissa McDowell, Jane Buffington and Kathy Bridgefarmer took part in this interdepartmental event.

Due to the overwhelming success of this program, we plan to repeat this event for the 2017-2018 academic year.