Students practicing nursing simulation

Nursing Simulation Laboratory Frequently Asked Questions

Simulation is a powerful tool for education and assessment for students working in medical fields. It bridges the gap between the theoretical skills students learn in class and their clinical practice. Because the simulation environment is safe, controlled and low-risk, students have greater opportunities to practice and learn from their mistakes.

Simulations allow students to:

  • Observe and take part in providing care for high-risk but low-volume experiences that they may not be able to witness in their clinical practice
  • Learn how to respond to simulations in a safe environment 
  • Feel prepared for all types of patient care when they arrive in a clinical setting

Research has shown that simulation has the ability to enhance active student learning and has long-term benefits for patient care, including reducing complications and shortening the length of hospital stays.

When classes are in session, the Open Skills Lab is open Monday through Friday.  

Nursing Skills Lab Schedule

The Nursing Skills Lab will have availability weekdays by registering through SignUp Genius. Register for your practice time.

If you need one-on-one assistance, email

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions regarding the Simulation Laboratory.

There are two nursing lab classrooms, one medical assisting lab classroom, a Skills Lab for practice, a four-bed simulation hospital and a simulation center.  

  • The two nursing lab classrooms seat 16 students and have six/seven beds with manikins in them.
  • The Skills Lab has seven beds with manikins and can seat 16 students.
  • The simulation hospital has four rooms with beds/manikins in them.
  • The simulation center consists of a two-bed nursing home and a testing room.

Simulation Hospital, Health Science Center (HSC) 2145

This four-bed simulation hospital was renovated in mid-2012 using a classroom, a storage closet and a study nook. It provides simulated training to nursing students five days a week.

Students take care of patients while facilitators and instructors observe actions from behind one-way mirrored windows in the control room (observation room). Interactions can be videotaped and watched live by other participants and can also be played back during debriefing sessions.

Highlights of HSC 2145 include the addition of a Pyxis medication dispensing system identical to what is used in area hospitals. High fidelity manikins include SimMom, who is able to simulate a live birth and also display complications such as a seizure and hemorrhage. A newborn manikin who can turn blue, have seizures and cry. All manikins in the simulation hospital are capable of displaying vital signs that can change based on the direction a scenario takes.

HSC 2145 also includes a working nursing station and a 10-person conference room. 

Nursing Skills Lab, Health Science Center (HSC) 2142

This is an seven-bed practice lab open to students from the ADN and CNA programs. The lab is generally open Monday to Friday and offers students an opportunity to practice skills on the manikins under the supervision of a lab assistant, who is a Registered Nurse. 

Health Science Center (HSC), Room 2141

This is a seven-bed lab classroom. Faculty teach lab skills in three- and four-hour lab sessions. Students can utilize this time to practice multiple skills and then go to Skills Lab if they desire more practice time. 

Health Science Center (HSC), Room 2139

This is a six-bed lab classroom. Faculty teach lab skills in three- and four-hour lab sessions. Students can utilize this time to practice multiple skills and then go to Skills Lab if they desire more practice time. 

Simulation Center, Health Science Center (HSC) 2136

The Simulation Center contains a working nursing station, a two-bed nursing home, and a testing room. Students are able to practice giving care to the hospitalized patient and the long term care facility patient. Facilitators/Instructors can observe student interaction from behind one-way mirrored windows. Scenarios located in the Simulation Center can be videotaped and shown live on the monitor in the conference room, which seats 10.

It depends on the nursing course, but most students will spend 25 percent of their time in simulated learning and 75 percent at a clinical site.

The 25 percent time spent in simulated learning is considered a clinical day and students will spend eight hours in the simulation hospital or simulation center.

Students must come prepared as if it is a true clinical day and as if they will take care of real patients. They prepare by researching assigned cases ahead of time and arrive at the Simulation Hospital for “report” at specified clinical times.  They learn about the patient, his/her medications, history, and any other pertinent data.

Students are then assigned roles and take turns being the primary nurse in charge. Scenarios usually run approximately 20 minutes and then students have a 40-minute debriefing afterward. There may be up to four scenarios within the eight-hour shift.

The lab classes are three/four hours long and are separate from the simulation clinicals. Students rotate among various stations offering critical thinking exercises, which help apply knowledge to a hands-on skill. Students can then practice skills on the manikins. The lab classes offer opportunities to practice “mini-simulations” and students will test out on skills within a simulated exercise. 

The College is producing nursing graduates who are better able to critically think due to their hands-on experience in nursing simulations. Nursing students can put the pieces of the puzzle together and determine what their patients require in the real-world environment.

The Nursing Simulation Lab promotes safety through simulation so employers can hire safer nurses. The Lab covers all aspects of safety to include safe medication administration, appropriate nursing interventions, effective communication, and the promotion of teamwork.

Today’s healthcare environment requires a graduate nurse who does more than just know information. Graduates must be able to safely synthesize and apply knowledge, be effective communicators and work collaboratively with other team members to optimize outcomes for their patients. 

No, we do not accept volunteers to play patients in simulations. Many of our simulations utilize “standardized patients,” which are real people who have been instructed how to portray the patient and his/her health issues.

A standardized patient program was created to support the need for live actors portraying cases.  These live actors that are utilized are paid employees of the College. 

These participants are often prepped in moulage (stage makeup) and given a basic script to know how to respond as the students nurses interact with them.

Simulations are part of a student’s learning experience in the nursing department. One of the goals of simulation is to create a safe learning environment for students to put their skills into practice and to make mistakes.

To maintain this safe environment for students, simulations are only available to be observed by participants (i.e. the students, staff, and faculty participating in the simulation). We do not allow non-participant observers.

Contact Information

Nursing Lab Assistant Office
Health and Science Center (HSC), Room 2142
(630) 942-2569

Simulation Hospital
Health and Science Center (HSC), Room 2145
(630) 942-2539

Simulation Center
Health and Science Center (HSC), Room 2136
(630) 942-4258

Melissa Ericson, Nursing Simulation and Lab Manager
(630) 942-3938