UWM nursing students win international competition in Shanghai

For the second year in a row, participants from the UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing won first place at the Shanghai International Nursing Skills Competition. Nursing students Shannon Komar and Mercedes Islas (of the UWM/UW-Parkside consortial nursing program) competed and claimed the 2018 International Group title.

Annually, teams from around the world gather to compete in a series of intensive nursing scenarios. The competition is organized by the Shanghai University of Medicine and Health Sciences. Participants demonstrated nursing skills, assessment, procedures and education while being filmed and critiqued by a large international audience via a screen next to their station.

Two women pose for a selfie.
UWM nursing students Shannon Komar (left) and Mercedes Islas take a selfie at the Shanghai International Nursing Skills Competition in China.

Upon arrival, teams received training on skills, supplies and materials. Participant teams were given time to practice in the skills rooms.

The components to the evaluation included:

  • communicating professionally with the patient, family and staff and responding caringly and therapeutically to a patient’s complaints or questions
  • moving or positioning a patient based on a patient’s condition and diagnosis
  • performing a procedure or teaching the patient or family something

The scenario given to the students focused on a 60-year-old woman, recently diagnosed with osteoporosis, who had fallen while working in her garden and had broken her arm. She had intense pain and was hyperventilating.

The team was briefed on vital signs and confirmation of the patient’s radial fracture. Tasks that needed completion included an assessment of the patient’s injury, bandaging her wrist using a figure eight wrap technique, giving the patients an intramuscular injection of morphine and educating the patient on osteoporosis. The team had 15 minutes to demonstrate the skills.

Two women work with a patient.
Komar and Mercedes work with a patient at left while live images of their work is shown on a screen to the right at the Shanghai International Nursing Skills Competition.

“From learning the differences between nursing school requirements in different countries to navigating our way around the Shanghai Metro, to winning the competition… the entire trip was filled with unforgettable experiences,” Islas said. “Award or no award, there is nothing that could replace the relationships that we built through this experience.”

Clinical instructor Michele Faltinson accompanied the students on the five-day trip to China.

“At the competition, I was impressed by the depth of the pride in and promotion of excellent nursing skills among the international teams,” Faltinson said.

Kim Litwack, dean of UWM’s College of Nursing, marveled at the students’ achievement.

“I’m extremely proud of Mercedes and Shannon; they represented UWM College of Nursing in a very professional manner and successfully demonstrated the skills they have learned through their coursework and simulation,” Litwack said.

In 2017, instructors Mandy Sheriff and Andy Hargarten represented the UWM College of Nursing at the Shanghai International Nursing Skills Competition and won the 2017 International Group title.

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