State-of-the-Art Simulation: How Two NCIN Grantees Are Implementing and Improving Their Simulation Programs

There’s no substitute for clinical experience when you’re a nursing student, but there is an excellent complement to that experience: simulation. In the last decade, simulation labs and simulators (human patient simulators) have become increasingly popular and increasingly high tech.  Several NCIN grantee institutions have invested in high-fidelity labs and simulators and are seeing great returns on these investments in their nursing students.

At both New York University (NYU) College of Nursing  and the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies, simulation is fully integrated into the nursing curriculum, and faculty receive regular training and education in using simulation to ensure that students derive the maximum benefit from this unique and important teaching tool. Both institutions also have large, state-of-the art simulation labs and strong commitments to ensuring that their students’ simulation experiences are as realistic as possible.

“Our expectation is that the students treat our simulator as a real patient,” said Kellie Bryant, DNP, WHNP, an associate clinical professor and the director of Simulation Learning at the College of Nursing. “Students are expected to behave in the same manner as if they were in their hospital based clinicals. When we first started using simulation, some students felt simulation wasn’t realistic. However through the years, students appreciate the value of simulation and their attitude has changed due to improvements in the way we conduct simulation and the increase in the medical technologies we incorporate into our simulations.

She also pointed out that one advantage of simulation is that it allows students the ability to provide a wider range of nursing care than they might be able to perform in the hospital setting.  “Many hospitals have moved to an Electronic Medical Record system which many of our students are unable to access. This results in the inability for our students to document or even administer medications. With simulation, we are able to provide those opportunities they may not get in the hospital setting such as administering medication or charting on their patients,” said Bryant. “In a hospital setting, students are limited to caring for the patients who happen to be on the floor that day. In simulation, we can create a variety of scenarios and also ensure that every student gets an opportunity to provide care to a patient they will commonly care for as a graduate RN, such as stroke and heart failure.”