Simulation Technology Reaches Nursing School Curriculums
As simulation continues to voraciously permeate the medical educational landscape, nursing students have been starting to benefit from the innovative learning stratosphere it provides. The methodologies traditionally used in nursing school has begun to shift from textbooks, lecture halls, heavily highlighted class notes, to a modern nursing classroom, with a hack-stack of high tech tech that includes human patient simulators, and virtual software.
“Simulation provides the opportunity for both undergraduate and graduate students to actively engage in high-risk clinical scenarios where students may not be ready to respond to in an actual clinical setting,” he said. “This allows students to be more than observers as they learn the necessary skills to safely, competently and confidently succeed in the nursing role.” says Mike Jacobs, DNS, RN, director of the USA Simulation Program
The University of South Alabama (USA) in Mobile, Alabama, is one of the many schools developing this innovative meded approach to learning, and their USA Simulation Program – an interdisciplinary program aimed at inundating nursing students from various colleges with this new method of curriculum exposure, has attracted more than 35,000 nursing students per year.
With the threat of patient safety reduced, nursing students are able to go far below the surface of training through simulation, allowing students to nurture key skills such as suturing, central line placement, chest tube insertion, paracentesis or abscess drainage long before the start of clinical rotations.
Nursing education is an evolving practice, and the integration of simulation technologies is just one shining example of this shift to high tech and hands-on training.
“We have seen a tremendous shift toward learning strategies that center toward the individual student,” she said. “These new strategies focus on interprofessional education using a team-based approach in the classroom and simulation labs. The role of the educator is changing from being a ‘pure’ teacher to being a facilitator of deeper learning, including the development of critical decision making skills.” added USA program administrator, Pam Johnson, DNP, RN
As with all technology integrations, the adoption process can be painstakingly slow, and can take some time to penetrate the standard curriculum. For example, with nursing simulations, the faculty has found that it often increases their preparation time before the lesson creating scenarios, though they widely concur that the trade off in time is well worth the heightened student engagement.
To offset this imbalance, the USA Simulation Program have since onboarded and trained more faculty and staff to assist college faculty with developing scenarios.
Learn more about the evolution of nursing simulations and the USA program here.