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Univ. of Iowa's nursing program role play with theater students

Evaluation sheets and cameras are typically not seen in a doctor's office but instructors at the University of Iowa College of Nursing are using the items as tools.

"By doing this simulation we're giving them opportunity to practice on how to answer and how to do the whole visit in a very short time frame," explains Director of the Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program Susan Van Cleve.

Instructors evaluate the students on gaining the patients trust. Students have to ask the right questions and diagnose the problem within an half a hour.

"It was nerve wrecking. Simulations are always nerve wrecking," says 3rd year nursing student Jim Kinney.

Kinney worked with 3rd year theater MFA actor Catie Councell. She played a 16-year-old teenage girl who shared her struggles with identity.

"From the moment he walked into the door. He was professional and yet warm which think is really," said Councell. "Like he really earned it by building my trust."

"We start with non-threatening questions so you start with things like home activities, school, and then move into sex, alcohol, drugs. We recognize that students, our nurse practitioner students really need to develop some skills with regard to caring for adolescents," explains Van Cleve.

Kinney likes the theatrical approach, "I think people feel like things get skipped over they don't feel comfortable with the provider to divulge certain things. So I feel pretty accomplish that I was able to maintain her comfort and have her feel safe with me."

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