Interdepartmental collaboration highlight of simulation exercise

Lisa Maliska, class of 2017

Students and faculty in nursing, psychology and theater participated in a one-day, end-of-life simulation experience at the Brenau East simulation center on March 5. The scenario was an expected death of a hospice patient, which offered the junior nursing students the opportunity to participate in a realistic experience caring for a dying patient and their loved ones.

During the simulated experience a group of theater professionals and students, including Kyle Cantrell, Maggie Todd, Maleah Boyd, Hannah Love, Kathleen Waters and Ty Martin, portrayed the patient’s family members, displaying realistic emotional reactions during the death of their loved one. The objective was for the nursing students to provide quality care for the dying patient while offering emotional support and comfort to the family members.

After each simulated end-of-life experience, a detailed debriefing session was conducted by graduate psychology students Daphney Predvil, Laura Aiken, Michael Taylor, Lashea Hollis and Alexandrea Le. The debriefing sessions provide students with a process to confidentially discuss the experience. Brenau Counselor Gay Baldwin was also in attendance to provide student support during this intense experience. Graduate psychology students Shaneka Hutchinson, Sarah Pratts, and Shena Turner are conducting a thesis study on the impact of a death and dying simulation on nursing students’ levels of empathy, fear of death and attitude toward caregiving.

Brenau faculty responsible for the planning and development of this event include Gary Bauman, Margie Gill, Ann Demling, Gay Baldwin and Jane Buffington, and it could not have been successfully conducted without the assistance of professors Monica Pozowicz and Suzanne Gilmore.

This simulation experience was difficult for the theater department and nursing faculty as we missed one of our own, Lisa Maliska, who died Feb. 21 and was instrumental in the initiation of our first death and dying simulations. She was very dedicated to this experience as she continued as a theater volunteer even after graduating from Brenau in 2017. Thank you Lisa for your dedication and service to this experience. You will never be forgotten.