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Claudia Greenlee, MSN, RN, CPNP, is the manager of the SIMCARE Centerat Chamberlain’s Cleveland campus.

Describe your background as a nurse.

I started as a pediatric/OB/NICU RN float at Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio. I always knew that I wanted to become a pediatric nurse practitioner; that was why I went to nursing school in the first place. I started my MSN two years after graduating with my BSN. I started teaching part-time at Aultman College of Nursing while still working on the pediatric unit.

What made you decide to go into nursing education?

I started teaching while going back for my master’s degree to be a pediatric nurse practitioner. Although I love the nurse practitioner role, I felt like education was where I belonged. It is so fulfilling to be able to teach students information that will help them advance in their careers. To be able to be part of an individual’s journey to becoming a nurse has been so rewarding – it is a great feeling when students express their appreciation for how you have helped them.

What can students expect from their SIMCARE Center experience?

During their experience, students can expect to be put in situations that will help them to take the didactic information they are learning in the classroom and the skills they are learning in lab and bring it all together in simulations.

Students work on using their critical thinking skills and being able to do an accurate assessment on the patient to know what interventions they need to administer to care for the patient. We try to create a realistic life situation so that they will know how to communicate with patients and their families, prioritize patient care, communicate with healthcare providers and be the “nurse” for the simulation patient.

Students will work in groups for each simulation. It is not for a grade, but provides an alternative way of learning.

What advice would you give to students regarding their SIMCARE CENTER experience?

My advice to students would be to try to relax and know that it is a “safe” environment for the patient. If mistakes are made, no harm is done to the patient. Simulation provides students with a great environment to learn from their mistakes and talk about alternative methods that could have been implemented.

In the SIMCARE CENTER, students are put in situations where they may not always know what to do, but that is done so that we can help develop the critical thinking skills needed as a nurse. At the end of the day, we just want to give you as many opportunities as possible to apply what you are learning so that you are better prepared when you are out on your own as a registered nurse.

Do you have any advice to new students?

Come into nursing school with an open mind. Know that it is going to be challenging and stressful at times. You are going to have to learn to balance family, work and school.

The best advice that was given to me during graduate school was to learn to say “no” to things that are not a priority in your life. Sometimes we think that we can do it all and stretch ourselves thin because we don’t want to disappoint others. Figure out what is a priority in your life and then schedule important things and stick to the schedule. Schedule study time, family time and any other important things in your life. If there is a big stress in your life, how can you make things easier?

For example, one of the biggest stresses to me during school was cleaning the house. As silly as that sounds, it was just one more thing for me to worry about on top of school, work, kids and husband to take care of. I hired a cleaning lady during graduate school to help with that stress. Could we afford it? Not really, but we figured out that we could swing it by cutting back some other things, and it was a huge burden lifted and allowed me to focus more on nursing school.

Remember – you can do this and you can get through nursing school. It is a short-term commitment for a lifetime reward!

Related Stories:

Behind the Scenes at Chamberlain’s SIMCARE Center

Chamberlain’s Julie McAfooes Contributes To Book On Simulation In Nursing Education

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