An essential component of every student’s path at Frontier Nursing University is Clinical Bound. During Clinical Bound, students test what they have learned during their didactic studies (online coursework) through clinical simulations before they begin seeing real patients during the clinical phase of their program.
At Clinical Bound, students evaluate standardized patients who follow basic scripts describing their condition or symptoms. The interaction is observed by the instructor, and it is also recorded for later review and evaluation. Modeled after actual examination rooms, the simulation rooms do not have enough space for all the students attending Clinical Bound, but the other students are able to learn from each other by observing on their mobile devices.
The process to create these state-of-the-art clinical simulations on the Versailles, Ky., campus involved collaboration between faculty and the university’s IT services, which was instrumental in making sure the technological needs of the simulations were being met.
“We interviewed the different departments to find out how many students were going to be in each room and what applications would be used,” FNU Director of IT Marc Weitlauf said. “This helped us determine bandwidth, whether or not televisions were needed, and adjust WiFi settings. We thought we had it right, but until you have enough people in there to actually verify that, you never know for sure. In the first Bound or two in the Fall of 2021, we struggled with connectivity because we needed some of the WiFi access points to be a little bit better. The WiFi access points were crossing each other and it was confusing the machines and causing them to lose connectivity because they didn’t know which WiFi access points to talk to.”
Through a bit of trial and error, it was determined that the best solution was to put a dedicated Microsoft Surface Pro tablet connected to the network in each of the simulation rooms. This allows the faculty and students more flexibility in changing the setup of the room for proper recording and broadcasting. The tablet is on a movable mount so it can be positioned as needed.
“This has resolved quite a few of the connectivity issues that arose from students having their own laptops in these rooms,” Weitlauf said. “With the tablet being a standard device on our network, we can control what is on that machine and how it works. If there are problems, we can troubleshoot them much better than we can on someone’s personal device. This way we have a much more standardized and consistent experience in every exam room.”
Weitlauf and his team continue to work with faculty to make technical adjustments as needed to improve the consistency and efficiency of the Clinical Bound experience. For example, they determined a stronger WiFi monitor was needed to identify the source of trouble spots when users report connectivity issues.
“As the Bounds have gone on, we’ve gotten better and better,” Weitlauf said.
Clinical Bound is an experience the students can’t get at most other distance-learning institutions. When our students leave Clinical Bound, they are well-prepared to begin their clinical experience and have made lifelong friendships and connections. Learn more about Clinical Bound and the technology used to help students learn and prepare to become advanced practice nurses.