Use of Simulations for Development of Technology In Nursing Education

Nurses Educator 2

Development of Technological In Nursing Education and Use of Simulations

Use of Simulations for Development of Technology In Nursing Education

Simulations for Development of Technological Skills and Critical Thinking,Redesigning of Simulator Laboratories In Nursing Education.

Development of Technological Skills and Critical Thinking

    Simulations and virtual technology are being integrated into many schools of nursing at all levels. They allow risk free learning opportunities for students in a controlled environment (Oermann, 2004a, 2004b). With simulations and virtual technology, students can develop their psycho-motor skills and practice those skills as they progress through a nursing program so that they maintain their competence. 

    Another important use of simulations is to provide experiences for students to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Simulations also give students an opportunity to role-model interactions with patients, staff, and others in a safe environment, and arrive at decisions that are not only nursing focused. 

    They provide an adjunct to live clinical instruction, which for many schools is important because of limited clinical experiences and settings and a shortage of faculty and preceptors to teach clinical courses (Krautscheid & Burton, 2003).

    As schools allocate resources for high-fidelity human simulators and to develop patient simulation laboratories, there need to be mechanisms for integrating these within courses in the curriculum in lieu of clinical experiences. Similar to technology in general, faculty need guidance on how best to use simulations in their courses. 

    Otherwise, simulation laboratories are used by a few faculty and courses in a curriculum. In a survey of 34 nursing programs with laboratories with human patient simulators, Nehring and Lashley (2004) found they were used mainly in undergraduate physical assessment, advanced undergraduate medical-surgical, graduate physical assessment, and nursing anesthesia courses. 

    Their survey also revealed that only 25% of the faculty in a school of nursing incorporated the available human-patient simulators in their courses. When uncertainty of technology, as a result, some faculty are wary and fearful of using it in their teaching (Nehring & Lashley, 2004).

    One main outcome of using simulations is to foster students' clinical thinking through analysis of scenarios. Scenarios can be developed for students to apply their knowledge from one course to a simulated situation and to integrate learning from across courses as a basis for decision making. Developing and testing these scenarios take time, something that most faculty do not have.

Redesigning of Simulator Laboratories In Nursing Education

    Similar to technology use in general, before purchasing a human patient simulator, redesigning a laboratory as a clinical learning center, or acquiring expensive technology, schools need to identify:

1. how those technologies will be used in courses throughout the programs,

2. who will be responsible for preparing scenarios that guide students in developing their clinical judgment skills not just their psychomotor and technological competencies,

3. who will evaluate the effectiveness of simulated experiences on course outcomes,

4. how will faculty be prepared to use such technology in their own teaching, and

5. who will direct and maintain those laboratories 

    Because of the high costs, simulation laboratories are best shared among schools of nursing and other health professions, and with clinical agencies. Collaboration across schools also helps ease the shortage of faculty to work with students in these laboratories. 

    Peteani (2004) recommended that schools of nursing outsource simulators to cover their costs. Funding, how to maintain the technology long term, and specifics of sharing those laboratories across schools and health systems are issues that should be resolved early on. 

    This chapter examined a few of the issues that accompany program innovations and technology in nursing education. Schools of nursing have responded to the shortage with new program development and expansion of distance education. The faculty shortage, however, both in numbers of faculty and in educators with expertise in technology and teaching in general has limited some of these efforts. 

    Technology has affected how we teach and what we teach in nursing, and schools are faced with how to keep faculty current with changing technology in education and health care. As schools move forward with program innovations, distance education, and simulated laboratories, among other new developments, there are issues that should be addressed early in the decision making. 

    The time is here for schools to decide on the programs they will offer, how they will deliver them to students, and what types of teaching methods and technologies students will find in their school of nursing.

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