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Hopkins Trains Maryland Nursing Faculty in Simulation Teaching Technology

Posted: 1/20/2010

Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) has received a $618,000 three-year grant from the Maryland Higher Education Commission to establish an annual Faculty Academy of Simulation Teaching (M-FAST) among a consortium of Maryland nursing schools.  The objective: To enhance simulation teaching statewide and ensure student nurses make a smooth transition from the classroom to a patient care setting. 

The program kicked off on January 11, 2010, with a weeklong workshop for 15 nursing faculty from six participating nursing schools.  Leading the workshop was Pamela R. Jeffries, DNS, RN, FAAN, ANEF, a nationally recognized expert in simulation in nursing education and a lead author of a textbook on that topic.

"In the hospital, student nurses can't be autonomous," said Jeffries, who serves as the JHUSON Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. "Simulation provides an opportunity for students to practice their interpersonal, clinical and problem-solving skills in a non-threatening, safe environment."  Participating faculty members -- from Stevenson University, Howard Community College, Harford Community College, Montgomery College, Bowie State University and Hopkins -- receive training to develop clinical simulations or lesson plans that they can use in their associate or baccalaureate degree nursing programs. 

At the first workshop, participants gathered in small groups to discuss the concepts and planning that go into a simulation. They learned about role play and the use of mannequins, how to deliver constructive criticism to students and the importance of building in assessment tools to evaluate their effectiveness.  As part of the grant, a discussion forum and website repository will provide access to workshop materials produced now and in the future. Participants will have a follow-up meeting this spring to report on their successes or refine their approaches.

The program has a built-in multiplier effect.  "These Simulation Education Leaders will go on to guide the training of other faculty in their schools in a 'train the trainer' approach," said Linda Rose, PhD, RN, JHUSON associate professor, department of acute and chronic care, and principal investigator on the grant. 

JHUSON nursing faculty instructor and workshop participant Kathryn Kushto-Reese, MS, RN, believes in this training tool.  For the past two years, simulation has been part of her child health curriculum.  She has created real-life scenarios for her students in a controlled pediatric setting with positive results.

So has Cassandra Hall, RN, BSN, an instructional associate in the skills simulation lab at Montgomery College, who adopted nursing simulation techniques in 2008. "The students love the training and peer support; it reduces their anxiety about working in a clinical setting," she said. After the workshop, she plans to share her scenario on seizure management in pregnancy-induced hypertension with 31 nursing faculty at the college.

M-FAST also satisfies Kushto-Reese's long-term goal: to develop best practices for simulation in nursing education and network with like-minded faculty at other schools. In addition, M-FAST addresses the shortage of nurses in Maryland by increasing the capacity of nursing schools in the state and make them more competitive. By the third year of the grant, M-FAST expects to expand to nine nursing schools in Maryland and train a total of 62 faculty members.