LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – With an associate degree, nursing students at UA Little Rock can get their RN license and jump right into the field to make money while finishing school to earn their BSN.

Students benefit from UA Little Rock’s simulation hospital, giving nursing students a realistic experience.

“They’ll get to make mistakes here and that really is the big thing for them,” simulation lab director Joanna Hall said. Hall is a 2013 nursing grad from UA Little Rock.

She says the nursing department gives a very different experience from her time as a student.

“To see how far we’ve come in just a little over ten years is just incredible,” Hall said.

Thousands of dollars have gone into the department of nursing.

In the simulation hospital, you can find manikins that operate like humans. 

UA Little Rock has invested in eco masks for the manikins that allow professors to change the sex, race, age and more. This is to make sure students can experience care for all patients.

“They defiantly put a lot into what we get here,” first-year nursing student Bestynna Okai said.

She says the manikins seem so real that they still catch her off guard some days.

“Sometimes when you’re in the moment, depending on the simulation it can be a bit overwhelming,” Okai said.

But that’s what the manikins and simulation lab are for.

After each simulation session, professors sit down with students to break down what they had done right and wrong.

Hall says the teachers and students value face-to-face interaction because it builds confidence for the student.

“One of my professors was just reassuring me that you know a lot more than you’re giving yourself credit for so just trust your instinct and trust your gut,” Okai said.