Interdepartmental Collaboration: Death and Dying Simulation Experience

Students and faculty in nursing, psychology and theater participated in a one-day, end-of-life simulation experience in the Brenau East simulation lab. The experience, held on Nov. 11, offered junior-level nursing students the opportunity to experience a “realistic” simulated end-of-life scenario. This experience prepares the health care professional students for the process of caring for dying patients and their loved ones.

During the simulation experience, theater professionals Lisa Maliska, a Brenau alumna, and Sydney Stasinos, as well as members of the Brenau PsychED club Savannah Benson and Cheyenne Pitts portrayed the patient’s family members. The family members provided the nursing students with 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.

A debriefing session follow the simulation. Graduate psychology students Daphney Predvil, Shaneka Hutchinson, Shena Turner, Xiomara Senior and Kaitlyn McLaughlin discussed each session and the effectiveness of the nursing students’ methods. To provide students with another layer of support, Brenau Counselor Gay Baldwin was also present for all the students during this intense experience.

Faculty members Dr. Gary Bauman, Dr. Ann Demling, Margie Gill, Gay Baldwin and Jane Buffington were responsible for planning and executing this event. Dr. Perry Daughtry was instrumental in providing assistance from the PsychED club members. The simulation performance could not have been conducted without the assistance of Christina VanDenHandel and Kevin Crawford, two of the nursing school’s clinical adjunct instructors.

The next end-of-life simulation event will be held in March 2019.