Doctors and nurses examining a patient
HealthFebruary 27, 2018

Nursing simulation scenarios: Preparing tomorrow's nurses, today

An increasing number of nursing schools are offering nursing simulation scenarios to students to better train tomorrow's nurses, today, and as a direct response to the increased scrutiny of nurses and other health care professionals to provide safe, effective care.

Among the trends in nursing education, providing more experiential learning opportunity than instruction and increasing the use of learning technology - which includes medical simulation - is helping nursing students become more proficient in technology that can help them save lives in real-life clinical situations. Decreased opportunities for clinical placements, combined with increased patient safety issues and ethical concerns, has also led to a drop in the number of opportunities available to nursing students for direct experience with patient care.

Simulation provides a way to make up for this - it provides nursing students with opportunities to practice their clinical and decision-making skills through various real-life situational experiences. What's more, this increased use of simulation and nursing simulation scenarios, specifically, is also being driven by trends like a shortage of nurse educators and patient confidentiality concerns at hospital-based clinical training sites.

But simulated teaching has become so high tech, that it's not only for nursing students to use for practice, but it's also being used by new nursing graduates, as well as more experienced nurses who want to learn more, or improve upon, their skills. This simulated training is extremely useful, because, for one, as our nation's population ages, we will need more nurses to become more proficient in their care in order to take care of this patient demographic. Plus, many studies show that simulation-based nursing education interventions have strong educational effects.

Benefits of simulated learning for nurses

There are various types of simulation: Screen-based/PC-based simulation, virtual patients, human patient simulator and integrated models, to name a few. High-fidelity simulations involve the use of computerized mannequins that can be programmed to exhibit a wide range of patient conditions. Used for years in medical schools and the military, high-fidelity patient simulations (HPS) has become essential for many nursing schools, as they promote skills acquisition, aid development of clinical judgment, and teach students about complex clinical situations with lifelike examples - all without exposing “real" patients to unnecessary risk.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing notes that there are many advantages of simulation over actual clinical experience, including:

  • Reduces training variability and increases standardization
  • Can be customized for individualized learning
  • Is truly student-centered, experiential learning instead of passive learning
  • Allows for independent critical-thinking and decision-making, and delegation
  • Allows Immediate feedback
  • Offers opportunity to practice rare and critical events
  • Can be designed and manipulated
  • Allows calibration and update
  • Can be reproduced
  • Occurs on schedule
  • Offers opportunities to make and learn from mistakes
  • Is safe and respectful for patients

Literature supports the idea that simulation-based education with deliberative practice can achieve specific clinical goals relating to patient safety. Meanwhile, the National League of Nursing has endorsed study findings that conclude that simulation can be substituted for up to 50 percent of traditional clinical experiences.

“Simulation creates transformational learning experience for all nursing students and provides diverse perspectives on caring for patients across the continuum of care," states the NLN. "Learning in simulation allows for situated cognition - or learning in context - a concept at the forefront of contemporary educational reform. As teachers and learners move away from content-laden curricula to curricula that emphasize experiential learning, it is critical that nurse educators have the requisite knowledge and skills to use simulation to its full potential. An element of learner self-reflection is core to all methods."

Plus, a simulation scenario focused on a single concept can be used for multiple programs of study. For example, a simulation involving medication safety can be used for both prelicensure students and graduate students. This allows instructors and administrators to design simulations for learners in multiple programs while maximizing human, space, and financial resources.

And, perhaps the most important reason to use simulation in nursing education: Students love using it! A happy learner is an engaged learner!

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How nursing instructors can become simulation champions

Nursing schools are increasingly challenged to provide high-quality clinical experiences for students, and simulation can provide invaluable learning experiences that replicate clinical ones. Guidelines and quality measures for simulation programs have been published by groups such as the International Nursing association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL) and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH), so nursing instructors aren't on their own in this. In fact, the most recent simulation standards provide educators, clinicians, and researchers with best practices to design, facilitate, and evaluate simulation experiences, which ensures high-quality simulations for optimal learner outcomes. Both instructors and students are evaluated to ensure the simulation experiences meet course and program outcomes.

But the reality is, many nursing instructors are understandably reluctant to use new technology. Many have had negative experiences with technology vendors in the past, or are afraid they won't be able to figure out how to use the technology to its utmost capabilities.

That's where Lippincott's vSim for Nursing comes in.

The National League of Nursing (NLN) collaborated with Laerdal Medical and Wolters Kluwer Health on the development of vSim for Nursing to help students build confidence and preparedness for practice. This innovative line of teaching resources provides solutions for a range of content areas. Each product features 10 virtual patient simulation scenarios, authored by the NLN, that allows students to access curriculum resources and practice patient-centered care for a variety of case studies. Check out our free vSim for Nursing implementation guide here.

Designed to simulate real nursing scenarios and to develop clinical decision-making skills, competence, and confidence in nursing students, vSim for Nursing includes:

  • Online interactive virtual simulations with integrated curriculum resources pre- and post-simulation quizzes
  • Guided reflection questions. Students can interact with patients in a safe, realistic environment, available anytime, anywhere.
  • Interactive student scenarios along with integrated curriculum resources

Take a virtual tour of vSim for Nursing Fundamentals by watching the video below.

Screenshot of vSim for Nursing video
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vSim for Nursing Fundamentals Online, virtual simulation

Integrated within Lippincott CoursePoint+, vSim for Nursing simulates real nursing scenarios allowing students to interact with patients in a safe, realistic environment - available anytime, anywhere. Courses include Fundamentals, Medical-Surgical, Maternity, Pediatric, Gerontology, Pharmacology, Health Assessment, and Mental Health. What's more, 94% of faculty agree that vSim accurately depicts actual clinical scenarios.

Lippincott also offers vSim for Nursing Mental Health, which includes 10 patient scenarios developed jointly with the NLN. Mental health simulation scenarios include:

  • Andrew Davis: Alcohol Withdrawal
  • David Carter: Schizophrenia, Part 1
  • David Carter: Schizophrenia, Part 2
  • George Palo: Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood
  • Li Na Chen: Major Depressive Disorder, Part 1
  • Li Na Chen: Major Depressive Disorder, Part 2
  • Linda Waterfall: Severe Anxiety
  • Randy Adams: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Sandra Littlefield: Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Sharon Cole: Bipolar Disorder
Discover the power of vSim for Nursing through a free 30-day trial!
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