Maria Stories

Maria Story: Gabrielle Ryan ’17, BSN, RN, CCTN

Gabrielle Ryan enrolled at Maria College when a  friend told her about how prepared she felt in the nursing field after going through the program. Gabrielle started as a General Studies student with an intent for nursing in 2013, which allowed her to take all the prerequisite classes prior to entering the Nursing program. Her schedule was lighter at that time and she was able to focus on her Nursing classes when she entered the program, without having to take extra courses. Her instructor, Molly, who she said was phenomenal, walked her through clinical if she was scared, nervous or unsure of anything, boosting her confidence.

“Confidence is so important as a nurse. Being able to build that confidence before actually graduating was so helpful and I was able to carry that through my practice and also help educate new nurses, both here at Maria and on the floor working, to have that confidence.”.

Gabby graduated from Maria College in 2017 with her associate’s degree in nursing, and in 2018 she received her bachelor’s degree in nursing. When she was going through the bachelor’s completion program she had to do a certain number of clinical hours, and she considers herself to be lucky enough to come back to Maria to do her hours in the Simulation Lab to help the AD students with their skills in the lab. It was during that time that she said she realized she had a love for education, and it is where she really wanted to work. Gabby applied in 2019 to be a Skills Instructor at Maria College, and was recently given the title of Simulation Lab Coordinator. As a Simulation Lab Coordinator, Gabby work strictly in the Simulation Lab with nursing students. Gabby is responsible for writing some of the new simulations and make sure they coincide with what the students are learning in lecture.

Gabby tells us about The Maria College Nursing Center, “The Nursing Center is comprised of three labs, the Skills lab, Open Skills Lab and then the Simulation Lab. The Skills Lab and the Open Lab have a total of 14 low-fidelity manakins (low fidelity meaning they are not simulators), in patient beds used strictly for skills practice. Skills practice on these manakins involves IV administration, medication, fluids and trait care. The Simulation Lab involves 4 simulators, in two separate lab rooms. There are two adult manakins, referred to as “Sim Man” and “Sim Mom”, and younger manakins, “Sim Junior” who is the pediatric manakin and “Sim Baby”, a 9-month old baby. We can do all kinds of things with our simulators, it is so much fun. For example, with our “Sim Mom” we can program to go through the delivery process. We have a separate baby that we program her with and we can manipulate her to go through different types of delivery, we can create a scenario where she goes through a post-partum hemorrhage, breach deliveries and all kinds of abnormal scenarios that students might not see in the clinical setting. “Sim Man” is our most used manakin, he breathes and blinks on his own, has a palpable heart-rate and blood pressure making it a life-like situation for the students. Students are able to experience Simulation every single week and it allows the students to work on their communication skills. Some of the simulations are very tricky when it comes to communication. The patient may be intubated/sedated, non-verbal, confused, angry, etc. So, by dealing with these situations in a simulated environment, it allows the students to really practice and think about how they would communicate with those patients in the real-world.”

Gabby remembers when she was a student, this technology was really new. She remembers making mistakes in the Simulation Lab, and says, “that is so important because when you are able to run-through these intense patient situations in a controlled environment it allows students to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes and not worry about harm coming to their patient because they are manakins. Those mistakes stick with them. I always say, ‘The mistake you make here will not happen in a clinical setting’. We are very lucky here at Maria to have the technology that we do, not every nursing school has the same capabilities”