Rapid advances and changes are continually occurring in the technological field. Emerging developments in the nursing practice necessitate changes in the nursing education system. The nursing profession is an integrated area that requires the acquisition of skills and knowledge in adaptive and cognitive domains. Updating the education systems associated with the nursing practice can help ensure the continuity of the profession. Therefore, the current information era necessitates considering the advancements in professional nursing education. In this regard, interactive teaching methods are considered the most effective approaches for imparting adaptive and cognitive skills to nursing students. Interactive approaches encourage students to participate in the learning process actively (Moran, Wunderlich, & Rubbelke, 2018). In this context, simulation is regarded as an effective interactive teaching method that could be applied to achieve nursing education’s primary goals. Various healthcare professional bodies and educators have endorsed simulation. For instance, the World Health Organization (WHO) published gold standards for professional nursing education, which recommend simulation in nursing education programs. Healthcare institutions are increasingly using simulation as an effective learning approach.
How Simulation Can Be Designed to Provide Optimal Education
Well-designed simulation training can increase students’ learning, hence delivering optimal education. It takes effort to put together a simulation training program that yields the desired results. When designing simulations, multiple steps must be addressed to construct a successful program that delivers optimal education for students. The first step is to set learning goals in simulation training (Campbell & Daley, 2013). The instructors must understand what he/she wants the students to learn. For educators to understand the expected learning outcomes, they must create a plan of how the training should unfold and the skills students should acquire in the end. Setting goals for the training will help keep designing a simulation program on the right track. The next step is to design the visuals and story (Campbell & Daley, 2013). Create a narrative that draws the students’ interest and keeps them engaged. The simulation stories must incorporate real-life scenarios, which the students can relate to. The point is to go past theoretical concepts and teach students solutions that can be applied to real work-related situations. Next, the instructor should set training expectations during the simulation training (Campbell & Daley, 2013). The desired outcome of the program must be communicated. Students must understand the benefits of the program and the instructor’s expectations upon completing the training. The final step is to develop an assessment strategy. Assessments are necessary to track students’ progress and solicit immediate feedback regarding the training. The assessments might be in the form of short quizzes at the end to test students’ skills and knowledge. The assessments serve as an opportunity to gauge the effectiveness of the simulation program.
Challenges Associated with Simulation
The use of simulations to deliver training, especially in healthcare, is associated with various challenges. Some of these challenges are learner-focused, while others are situation-focused. If these challenges are not addressed, the simulation will fail to facilitate educational intentions.
Greater learner control is a key challenge facing simulation-based education. Training simulations increasingly ask students to engage in learning without the instructor’s direct involvement, resulting in greater student control over the learning process. According to Bell & Kozlowski (2007), people usually do not make effective use of the control offered by technology-based education programs. Some trainees do not devote adequate effort to training, while others make poor decisions like skipping important lessons, resulting in performance deficiencies.
Establishing real-life situations could be challenging. For simulations to work, they must reflect near real-life incidences (Moran, Wunderlich, & Rubbelke, 2018). These circumstances must have some elements of reality and believability so that students can suspend their disbelief in a peer-supported environment. The closer the simulation scenarios are to reality, the higher the chances that students will abide by the fiction. Nevertheless, the instructor must broaden the students’ realities to include common and uncommon healthcare events (Campbell & Daley, 2013). The simulated cases must entail more than factual circumstances. In this regard, the challenge for students and educators is to make the scenarios real. Educators must consciously decide which information is central to make students engage and participate in fictitious situations.
Simulation exercises could be intimidating to students. Participants could make mistakes in front of peers and teachers (Bell & Kozlowski, 2007). The situation is even worse when the simulation is being recorded, especially if the students do not know the recording’s purpose. Educators must develop a formal consent process related to simulations and communicate the actual objectives to students. The simulation instructor and students must establish trustful relationships. Violating the video’s agreed uses and judging students based on their simulation performance could undermine the basic principle of safe learning.
Integrating Simulation into the Nursing School Curriculum
Integrating simulations into the nursing school curriculum is critical to transform current education and increase patient safety. According to Campbell & Daley (2013), wider use of simulations to enhance nurses’ learning may best be achieved through an integrative approach. Educators will give learners systematic guidance on developing complex ideas and allowing them to review and deepen their understanding. Like any teaching method, the simulation will be connected to expected student learning outcomes, which must be ideally defined in the curriculum and communicated to learners before the simulation exercises (Campbell & Daley, 2013). Thus, educators must focus on and map out what they expect the students to gain after completing the simulation activity. Essentially, educators must ensure the simulation activities are directly linked to every course and program outcome. In this way, effective simulations might demonstrate, with proof, the need for a nursing diagnosis or intervention so that the lesson may focus on behaviors that allow students to practice managing patients. Simulation is a complex teaching method, and educators must concentrate on its role in the total nursing school curriculum.
Simulations present great potential as mediums to deliver education and facilitate learning in the healthcare domain. Simulations create highly relevant training contexts where nursing students actively learn. Understanding the benefits of simulations is critical for nursing practice and education, as organizations increasingly demand effective training solutions, which foster adaptive and cognitive knowledge. However, to realize the full potential of simulations, various challenges must be addressed effectively. These challenges include greater learner control, participant intimidation, and establishing near real-life situations. Overall, simulation is an effective tool for training nursing students on what they may face in their nursing practice.
Bell, B. S., & Kozlowski, S. W. J. (2007). Advances in technology-based training. In S. Werner (Ed.), Managing Human Resources in North America (pp. 27-42). New York: Routledge.
Campbell, S. H., & Daley, K. M. (2013). Simulation scenarios for nursing educators: Making it real. New York: Springer Pub. Co.
Moran, V., Wunderlich, R., & Rubbelke, C. (2018). Simulation: Best practices in nursing education. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.