A patient having a heart attack, another going into labor, and a third with a skin rash is a typical day for students in the simulation lab at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON). Now students in the Traditional 2013 class have the chance to care for high maintenance patients including Harvey the cardiopulmonary simulator, Sim Man, Noelle with newborn, and Sim Baby as part of a landmark nationwide simulation study taking place at the School.
103 students from the 117-person class (88%) are signed up to take part in the study that explores the role of simulation in prelicensure clinical nursing education. Hopkins Nursing is one of 10 schools chosen by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to participate.
The study will examine the use of simulated clinical experiences as a replacement for a portion of the time spent in traditional clinical education. Participation in the study lasts for two years, from Fall 2011 through graduation in May 2013. Students are divided into three groups: 50% simulation, 25% simulation, and less than/equal 10% simulation, which is the percentage in the current traditional curriculum.
Simulation gives students the hands-on experience without the anxiety of working with actual human beings and the environment matches their learning style, explains Joyce Vazzano, a faculty member and the project coordinator. “They’re excited to care for multiple patients in one day and look forward to applying theory to practice” she says.
Vazzano adds that as part of the study, the debriefing method that takes place after each simulation experience has been redesigned for meaningful learning that draws on the effective, creative, and critical thinking processes. “We want to make the students’ participation in this study an exciting and meaningful learning experience,” she explains.