Photo courtesy of Beal College Beal College nursing students simulating patient comfort during the birthing process

Through the use of high-tech training techniques, Beal College is preparing the next generation of nurses for success

By W. Rosenberger

Nursing has quickly become the most important profession due to wild outbreaks of COVID-19 in our country. Consequently It’s no surprise that right now, hospitals are experiencing a strain as outbreaks develop. Apart from simply not having enough beds for patients, the country is also experiencing a severe drought of nurses in our workforce. The Beal College nursing program is tackling this issue by providing cutting edge technology for their students.

Although it has been exacerbated by the current crisis, the shortage of nurses was apparent long before 2020.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2019 that Registered Nursing was projected to be one of the fastest growing positions in the next 10 years. The Institute of Medicine predicted in 2010 that it would be necessary to increase the number of Registered Nurses by 80 percent to meet our future needs.

There are a number of factors that contribute to our national nursing shortage. An aging workforce and nurse burnout have slowly reduced the number of working nurses. The American Nurses Association predicts that there will be far more available nursing positions through 2022 than available positions in any other profession. America will need millions of new nurses to meet our current and future needs.

Adapting to Change

Beal College is taking the necessary steps to ensure students in their nursing program will succeed.

The biggest obstacle to a student nurse’s success ties back to the hospitals currently running at full capacity. Due to pandemic restrictions, it can be challenging for nurses to get in-person, hands on experience in a professional setting. To help remedy this, Beal College has begun piloting a Virtual Reality training tool. Through the use of an Oculus Rift headset, nursing students can enter their own personal, albeit virtual, hospital.  The benefits of virtual reality training are immense. In fact, students can cover a much wider range of subjects than in an actual hospital. Chance plays a big part in what a nursing student will experience in a hospital or clinic. The simulation can even be streamed to remote students, allowing the whole class to take part wherever they are.

In addition to their virtual training, nursing students will also have the opportunity to practice childbirth procedures using the realistic, lifelike Victoria Childbirth Simulator. A recent addition to the program, Beal College acquired this high-tech childbirth simulator back in Spring from Gaumard. The Victoria Childbirth Simulator has many of the same pros as Beal’s new VR program. Students can experience a wide variety of birthing scenarios to better prepare themselves for the real thing.

Beal College is proud of the progress they have made, with hundreds of students attending the nursing program thus far. But this is only the beginning. Beal College plans to continue to provide the best possible learning tools for their students to ensure their success.

About Beal College — Beal College is ACCSC-accredited and offers diploma, associate, bachelor and master degrees in an environment that values small class sizes, individualized attention, and a hands-on experience. Founded in 1891, Beal College is the longest-running higher education institution in Bangor, Maine preparing students for careers in fields as diverse as nursing and medical assisting, law enforcement, substance abuse counseling, welding, business, and more. To find out more, visit