NIU nursing professor Jeannette Rossetti will spend the spring semester in Ireland teaching as well as learning about advanced training methods for college-age nursing students learning to care for patients in mental health facilities.
There, she will study the university’s innovative simulation program, called the Mental Health Ward, for students in the psychiatric nursing program.
Two years ago she had a glimpse of it during her first trip to the Emerald Isle and was impressed with how soon undergraduate students receive advanced hands-on training in caring for patients.
“Nursing students in Ireland choose their specialty during their undergraduate program,” she said. “Those choosing psychiatric nursing have a program of study that is very intensive.”
“The undergraduate students at NUI Galway take part in a Mental Health Ward simulation course where they work with other students who role play as patients and caregivers. Eighty students are in the course and, at the end of the semester, the simulation goes ‘live’ and mimics 16 hours of a psychiatric hospital setting.”
The course requires students to learn a variety of psychiatric diagnoses and practice a range of nursing skills including assessments, the admission process, the discharge process, medication administration, therapeutic communication and patient education groups.
Students are also involved in high-risk areas such as handling aggressive, suicidal and homicidal patients.
When she returns, Rossetti plans to create a course at NIU’s School of Nursing and Health Studies that is similar to the NUI Galway’s. “It will be exciting,” she said.
“The program is innovative and will advance the training of our psychiatric nursing students at NIU when they are still at the undergraduate level. I am grateful to be given the opportunity for a sabbatical leave and appreciate the time away from my department, Nursing and Health Studies,” she added. “The financial support from the Illinois Board of Higher Education Nurse Educator Fellowship Award has made the international travel possible.”
At the same time, her trip will include an exchange of ideas because she will guest lecturer at NUI Galway. She will share some of the admission processes and screening tools that psychiatric facilities in the United States use.
In March, NIU undergraduate nursing student Abbey Knur, of Sycamore, will join Rossetti in Ireland for three weeks. They will conduct a research study titled, “Exploring Ireland’s Undergraduate Psychiatric Nursing Education: A Nursing Student’s Perspective.”
In this study, focus groups will be conducted with nursing students to explore the perspectives of their nursing education and the use of simulation in the program. Rossetti’s husband, David, and daughter, Kristyn, will join her in Ireland near the end of her travels.
by Gerard Dziuba