Across the nation many nursing programs are facing clinical site shortages for their students. The hardest hit population is the license vocational nursing (LVN) students. Many hospitals are trending toward achieving “Magnet Status” for their institutions. Therefore, LVN students are no longer allowed to complete their clinical training in several hospitals. This action forces many nursing programs to seek alternative methods of clinical instruction. In years past simulation training was used as an aid to facilitate learning. Today, for many nursing programs scenario based simulation is the only option for learning patient care.
Which brings about the question as to just how effective is simulation training? According to Kneebone, Nestel, Vincent, & Darzer (2007), “To be effective, however, such simulation must be realistic, patient-focused, structured, and grounded in an authentic clinical context. The author finds the challenge comes not only from technical difficulty but, also from the need for interpersonal skills and professionalism within clinical encounters” (p. 808). Most mannequins do not have vocal ability or the ability to move, and therefore cannot provide the proper a spontaneous environment for learning. Therefore, acquiring critical thinking skills can be somewhat challenging, in this type of simulated setting.
Criteria for evaluating simulations
According to (Kneebone at el. 2007 p.812) the following items are criteria for simulation
Simulations should allow for sustained, deliberate practice within a safe environment, ensuring that recently acquired skills are consolidated within a defined curriculum which assures regular reinforcement.
Simulations should provide access to expert tutors when appropriate, ensuring that such ‘scaffolding’ fades when no longer needed.
Simulations should map onto real-life clinical experience, ensuring that learning supports the experience gained within communities of actual practice.
Simulation-based learning environments should provide a supportive, motivational, and learner-centered educational climate that is conducive to learning.
Commonly encountered problems:
Many courses are isolated, single-instance episodes with little or no provision for regular practice and consolidation.
Clinician tutors often have limited training in the use of simulation for education.
Simulation-based training is often unrelated to the learner’s everyday work, so newly learned skills are not incorporated into clinical practice.
Simulation-based learning is often dominated by organizational and financial pressures rather than the individual needs of learners, and the importance of educational climate is frequently overlooked.
Will nursing students benefit from simulation training only, when hospital training is not an option? My PICOT has now evolved into the question as to,...