SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — St. Joseph’s College of Nursing has simulation patients. While they aren’t real, the training the students receive is.

The simulation patients can be programmed to experience any issues an actual patient does including migraines and childbirth, as well as be programmed to have dialog to discuss symptoms and treatment.

When a St. Joseph’s nursing student is with a simulation patient, instructors are in another room observing the interaction. They can even have the simulation patient speak and ask questions. The interaction can be recorded to review the interaction and help enhance the learning experience.

There is a nursing shortage is plaguing the state, and by 2030, New York is expected to need 40,000 nurses. On Monday, May 15, Governor Kathy Hochul made a law to adjust requirements allowing students to do more of their clinical training through these type of simulations even though training on actual patients would be ideal.

“When resources are limited then you have to be able to provide the same experience to every student going through your program,” said Dorothy Kowalczyk, the Center for Experiential Learning Supervisor. “That’s the challenge obstetrics, mental health, pediatrics, the specialties are extremely difficult. Now since COVID it’s even more challenging so this would be a great plus because that is something that we have to provide to our graduates.”

St. Joseph’s College of Nursing fortunately is connected to the hospital so the challenge isn’t as big as some other institutions but the legislation helps.

“It would just make it easier because we do have to bid on time in the pediatric area,” said Dorothy Kowalczyk, the Center for Experiential Learning Supervisor. “They try to divvy up the time that’s available in the units with all of the colleges that are requesting access. So we all come away a little short.”

Funding is something some educational institutions might be in need. At a minimum these simulation patients cost $36,000.

The law is set to take effect this fall in New York.