WCCC debuts ‘Hospital Room of Horrors’ for healthcare students

The Warren County Career Center healthcare program had its first “Hospital Room of Horrors” last week.

Halloween came early to the Warren County Career Center.

On Friday, Oct. 13, students in the Healthcare Careers program at the WCCC participated in the “Hospital of Horrors” simulation experience. Lessons in safety and infection control leading up to the Oct. 13 simulation laid the groundwork for students in all three levels of the program — from high school sophomores to seniors — to test their new knowledge in a hands-on lab environment.

“This is far from a novel idea,” said Health and Medical Careers program co-instructor Kylie Harris. “The concept of transforming a patient room into a haunted room of errors (horrors) has been done in varying capacities of education and even hospital trainings for quite sometime.”

The challenge, said Harris, was to make the simulation fun and light-hearted while engaging younger students and generating excitement for future simulation exercises. Adding Halloween elements to the simulation, said Harris, was part of that challenge. Lab facilitators dressed as witches and Halloween sound effects and music helped get students in the spirit of Halloween, and the horror of medical error.

“Students love anything that takes place in the lab setting,” said program co-instructor Diane Swartz. “These students can learn and apply incredibly high-level content if they are given a hands-on application. I learned long ago to employ active learning strategies as much as possible, and we spend a huge majority of our time in the skills lab setting.”

Labs, said Swartz, are where students gain experience that helps prepare them for future careers in any number of healthcare settings.

Friday’s “Friday the Thirteenth Challenge” gave students a maximum of seven minutes in the simulation room to identify as many safety and infection control errors as possible. Clipboards helped them document their assessments, and time was taken after visiting the lab to pull information together and “debrief,” according to Harris.

“The combination of high-level active assessment and post-lab critical thinking will ideally prepare the students to be more successful in future ‘high stakes’ healthcare careers,” she said.