Interest in the University of Dallas and Texas Woman’s University Dual Degree Program in Biology and Nursing has grown steadily since its inception in 2012. Thirty-seven students are currently in various stages of admission and enrollment, likely because they understand that UD’s rigorous core curriculum and TWU’s state-of-the art facilities combine to create uniquely qualified nurses. A group of twelve UD students interested in the dual degree program toured TWU facilities in October, 2014, to learn more about the technology and highly qualified instructors that characterize the Dallas campus. Dr. Marcy Brown-Marsden and Dr. Carla Pezzia from UD accompanied the group.
“We teach our nurses more,” said tour leader Isabelle Sisiak, “because we have more room and better equipment.” Sisiak began the tour with an assessment room in which nursing students, with the aid of mannequins, learn how to assess and test various body systems.
The group then watched a demonstration of a “virtual IV”—a computer simulation in which a nursing student can practice inserting an IV. The student completes each simulated step—washing hands, cleaning the injection site, applying the tourniquet—on the computer, then inserts a needle into a small, rubber “arm” that responds to the pressure and angle used. The process results in an overall grade for the session. Sisiak said that these kind of simulations are extremely important because they help students build confidence within a safe learning environment.
Next, Sisiak led students through a simulation room in which nursing students use TWU’s most sophisticated mannequins for instruction and practice. According to Sisiak, these “high fidelity” mannequins can display whatever symptoms are appropriate to the lesson: they can breathe and sweat, their pupils can dilate, and their tongues can swell. They even respond to whatever intervention the nursing student might take, such as injecting a particular drug or adding oxygen. “We can train you better this way,” said Sisiak to the students. “By using these simulations, I can guarantee that you will see a heart attack or congestive heart failure, or any number of other ailments, before you leave nursing school. You will be much better prepared to handle a situation in the hospital if you have actually seen it and trained on it here.”
Sisiak also emphasized how well-prepared she has found the UD students she has encountered. “I love UD students,” she said. “I think they are the best prepared undergraduates in the nation.” She especially remarked on the importance of the Rome semester. “I think it is so important that nursing students have a global perspective, and Rome gives you that.”
The UD and TWU Dual Degree Nursing Program consists of three years of core and nursing prerequisites taken on the UD campus and two years of nursing courses taken on the TWU campus. Click here to learn more about the program.