RCC’s student nurses learn by role-playing exercises

Changing a diaper

Tabitha Kim of King George County and Bryan Fleming of West Point, both associate-degree nursing students at RCC, practice teaching a new father to change a diaper.

RCC’s associate degree nursing program recently used role-playing exercises to give students a taste of what communicating with patients will be like when they go into clinical settings later in the semester.

Groups of three to five students were given a topic and props with which they were asked to design an appropriate teaching session for the particular patient or family.

The scenarios included a father changing his new baby’s diaper, a mother feeding her new baby, a child about to undergo surgery, and the mother of a child with a broken arm receiving instructions for home treatment.

In others, students portrayed parents learning to take their child’s blood pressure, an elderly person learning to check her capillary blood glucose, and a homeless family applying for care. Students also learned to cope with anxious patients in need of calming, and noncompliant patients.

Their classmates watched each skit, then offered constructive criticism on the performances, focusing on the teaching techniques used, effective therapeutic communication, and methods of evaluation.

“Patient teaching is an extremely important component to nursing,” says associate professor of nursing Sara Headley, “and is often overlooked in clinical practice.

“Teaching a patient the signs and symptoms of a disease process, or how to perform a correct treatment, can be life or death. Our entire program is designed using active-learning techniques which have increased retention and mastery of nursing concepts and skills.”