Kyle Bailey / Photo Editor

Kyle Bailey / Photo Editor

The nursing program at Keene State College has progressed exponentially within past years. 

KSC established a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and admitted the first class in 2012.

The nursing program’s mission is, “To educate future nursing leaders to provide innovative, high quality, accessible academic programs in the geographic regions of Keene and beyond.”

The program has developed significantly, gaining skilled professors and modern technology.

The program’s most advanced piece of equipment includes a new generation birthing simulator, which simulates an experience extremely similar to a human birth.

Kathleen Forrister, an assistant professor at KSC and a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Parent Child Nursing, described how the simulator works, “The simulator is called Lucina and she talks, has contractions and the baby moves through her body by mechanics controlled by a computer program.”

Forrister explained that Lucina, the simulator, births the child like a human mother would birth her child.

The simulator baby, named through a voting system held during the Pumpkin Lobotomy this fall, cries at birth and has an umbilical cord with a placenta. Students and faculty members voted the baby’s name to be either Stella or Stuart; gender depending on the scenario the simulator is used for.

Jacklyn Kerigan, a senior in her last year of KSC’s nursing program, described the unique experience, “During the simulation, I am very focused and treat them like there are real patients . . . It’s definitely intimidating knowing my instructors and professors are on the other side of the window watching, but I cannot see them. The simulation feels very real because you have no guidance from another RN or instructor. We are relying on each other as nursing students to know what to do.”

Kerigan explained that following the birthing, students watch themselves work on video, with their professors giving them pointers on what to improve the next time. Students are told whether they have passed or failed the simulation and have opportunities to demonstrate the knowledge they have gained following the viewing.

Forrister shared that students also benefit by experiencing high-risk and critical situations that may happen during a dysfunctional childbirth. This gives the nurses-in-training exposure to a controlled incident they would otherwise be unable to experience during their clinical courses in birth centers around the region.

The ability for students to travel to hospitals around the area is yet another benefit of KSC’s developing nursing program.

Kerigan has been placed at the Cheshire Medical Center, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, the Brattleboro Retreat and Good Shepherd Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

“All of my clinical rotations have absolutely enhanced my nursing experience. Getting out there and doing the work and caring for real patients is much more effective for me than just learning from a textbook,” Kerigan shared.

These new opportunities are unprecedented throughout the history of KSC and young nursing students are thrilled about the unique experience that awaits them.

Kim Bastan, a student in her second year of the nursing program, described her excitement regarding clinical rotations and participating in the new simulations.

“I can’t wait to progress to my third and fourth year in the nursing program,” Bastan said, “I’ve heard great things about the experience from older students. It’s nice knowing that I’ll get to be involved with real nursing situations before I even graduate, and it gives me motivation to push through my tough classes now.”


Aryanah Haydu can be contacted at

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