Nursing students get experience with latest technology

November 19, 2012
Students use Pyxis MedStation

The Pyxis technology, used in hospitals nationwide, reduces medication errors by allowing nurses to only remove prescribed medications for their assigned patients.

Students in the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) College of Nursing are getting hands-on experience with the latest medication management technology thanks to a new Pyxis MedStation™ 4000 automated drug storage and dispensing system.

Used in hospitals nationwide, the system decreases potential medication errors by allowing nurses to only remove prescribed medications for their assigned patients. It validates the correct medication through a secure login, locked drawers and compatibility with the hospital’s electronic charting system. The system has reporting capabilities and warning systems to alert users of potential medication errors or drug allergies. The technology enhances the patient-care experience by streamlining the medication delivery process from the pharmacy to the patient.

“It is important for our students to be knowledgeable about the technology used in the hospitals where they will one day work,” said Sharon Wilkerson, Ph.D., RN, CNE, dean of the TAMHSC-College of Nursing. “The Pyxis MedStation™ will help us deliver the best training for our students, ultimately enhancing our nursing curricula.”

The Pyxis MedStation™ 4000 is housed in the TAMHSC Clinical Learning Resource Center (CLRC), a more than 27,000-square-foot simulated hospital equipped with the latest tools and technology to enrich student learning.

Educating students about patient safety and medication errors is not a new aspect of the college’s curriculum, but with this technology at the student’s fingertips, it will bring hands-on learning to a new level. Students will use the system to administer placebo medications to standardized patients (patient actors) during clinical practice in the CLRC.

“Our students will now have the opportunity to learn and practice using this cutting-edge technology prior to beginning their career as a registered nurse,” Dr. Wilkerson said. “We can train them in a hands-on learning environment so they will be confident using this system upon graduation, which in turn will make them more marketable graduates.”

One such nursing student is senior Shelly Mozingo.

“I have seen the Pyxis technology used in rotations at local hospitals, and I am very excited that we now have the chance to practice using it in our simulations,” Shelly said. “Using the Pyxis now will give us one more qualification that our future employers will find valuable.”

A second Pyxis MedStation™ 4000 will be installed on the TAMHSC Round Rock Campus in the coming weeks. These systems also may provide opportunities for interdisciplinary learning for students in pharmacy and the TAMHSC-College of Medicine.

“The acquisition of our new Pyxis MedStation™ is truly an investment in the education of our future nurses,” Dr. Wilkerson said. “More highly qualified nurses entering the workforce will benefit not only the patients we serve, but the health care community as a whole.”

— Holly Shive

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