Success Story

SLS Provides Consistent Learning for Students Online at Tarrant County College

Associate professor Debbie McEntire, RN, MSN, always knew her true goal was to be a teacher. With over 25 years of nursing experience, it was clear that sharing her knowledge in a fast-paced, ever-changing industry was a perfect fit. Since moving online in response to COVID-19, she says tools like Simulation Learning System helped maintain the clinical level of learning she wants to see for her students from what she’s experienced in her last five years of teaching at Tarrant County College.

Although tools available have made developing plans easier, McEntire says moving her class online has been time consuming and stressful during an already-stressful pandemic.

Finding Time to Quickly Prioritize

Having a framework to build simulations for her courses – including foundations, mental health and adult courses – has saved time that McEntire can dedicate to her other responsibilities, like grading and providing direct support to her students.

“I’ve gone from working 35 hours a week to 60 hours a week. But for me, it is 100% about being able to subjectively measure a student’s ability to progress,” McEntire says.

Since this has been a transition for students as well, McEntire says she’s glad students have benefitted from the opportunity.

“I have had students come back and tell me that ‘Oh my gosh, this is great because we go in here It’s like putting puzzle pieces together’. When students are in that learning mindset, they can bounce around those charts and you’re out and put the puzzle pieces together,” McEntire says. “I had another student tell me that she had learned more in two weeks than she had the entire semester. It’s very exciting.”

Finding Benefits to New Challenges

Despite the challenges, McEntire has already seen some of the benefits of teaching remotely. Students can receive scores on a more objectively with a consistent learning experience. Students also receive additional experience with the medical chart they may not have received in a clinical setting.

“It’s been an equal opportunity education, because every single student is going to go in and do that exact same scenario, so every student is going to have that defined experience,” McEntire says.

McEntire does what it takes to make this easier for students with the solutions available. Although McEntire says she might be a hard teacher, making sure her students understand the material is her goal.

“Right now, we’re not in a position to be learning everything and we needed more direct information,” McEntire says. “So what I did was I actually went through the scenarios, did screenshots, put arrows, put notes, you click this, you complete that you click this, you read that and that was very helpful.”

Prior to moving online, McEntire had not used SLS in her courses but hopes that its use continues. Excited by the possibilities, she says she would like to continue exploring ways to teach students all the essentials for nursing online.

Learn more about Elsevier's Simulation Learning System (SLS)

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