How Simulation Based Learning Is Changing Nursing Education


Simulation is a technique for practice and learning that can be applied to many different disciplines and trainees. It is a technique (not a technology) to replace and amplify real experiences with guided ones, often “immersive” in nature, that evoke or replicate substantial aspects of the real world in a fully interactive fashion. Simulation training can be the way to develop health professionals’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes, whilst protecting patients from unnecessary risks and can be a platform which provides a valuable tool in learning to mitigate ethical tensions and resolve practical dilemmas.

In nursing education, there should be exposure to live patients so that nursing students can acquire the necessary skills. There is also, on the other hand, an obligation to provide optimal treatment and to ensure patients’ safety and well-being. Simulation has begun to change much of the ways in which nursing is taught and how students acquire the relevant skills. Medical, nursing, and other healthcare staff also have the opportunity to develop and refine their skills, repeatedly if necessary, using simulation technology without putting patients at risk. Simulation training centers, with their new techniques and equipment, such as video recording and observation, offer unique opportunities for dynamic, complex, and unanticipated medical situations to be practiced and managed.

The skills requirement which can be enhanced with the use of simulation include:

  1. Technical and functional expertise training
  2. Problem-solving and decision-making skills
  3. Interpersonal and communications skills or team-based competencies

All of these share a common thread in that they require active listening and collaboration besides possession of the basic knowledge and skills. With every training program, it is best to have feedback and debriefing sessions that follow. This is why the proper observation, recording and debriefing video software designed for nursing education is critical. Being able to observe these simulations and discuss the results afterward is a priceless learning tool for both students and teachers alike. Some common issues that can be observed and discussed include:

  1. The lack of understanding of roles and responsibilities of other team members, particularly across disciplines.
  2. The absence of clearly defined specified roles may persist, despite generally acceptable team performance; this may not become obvious until there is a change in team members, which then reveals the role confusion.
  3. Most health care systems have no or few processes or backup plans when errors occur.
  4. There is an unspoken assumption by members that everyone will perform at 100% efficiency and effectiveness. However, there is no method to measure this.

Simulation is a vital part of nursing education in today’s world.  Not only is it important to have great instructors, but in order for simulations and training to be successful, it’s important to also have the right tools and software to go along with it. These two items go hand-in-hand when it comes to effective and efficient nursing education sessions.


David Wertheimer

Scrubs Contributor
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