The Future of Nursing Simulation

Jennifer A. Turner
September 06, 2023
CON students

With the opening of MUSC’s new Simulation Center, the College of Nursing’s simulation team spotlights current immersive learning experiences and previews the innovations to come in nursing simulation education.

“One of the priority areas I am currently focused on is developing and strengthening our academic and hospital workforce collaborations to inform our new simulation opportunities. We are also using these collaborations to increase clinical judgment skills as we prepare students for the Next Generation NCLEX-RN exam (NGN). Specifically, by collaborating with our content experts on the hospital side, we can identify the gaps they’re seeing in care delivery at the bedside, and we can then take that information into our courses to develop simulation opportunities that build clinical judgment skills in our Accelerated BSN students.

Recently, we collaborated with MUSC certified wound and ostomy nurse Glenda Brunette, MSN, R.N., CWON, who brought her expertise in wound care and skin assessment to help inform us of wound care challenges that new nurses were encountering, and we brought our expertise in developing simulation and NGN clinical judgment questions. We were able to increase student confidence in assessing diverse skin tones and wounds, increase student confidence in managing atypical wound care incidents, and demonstrate improved performance on NGN style clinical judgment test questions. Ultimately, this strengthens our graduates when they sit for board licensure and certification and also strengthens the workforce at our hospital downstream when these graduates encounter these issues at the bedside as practicing nurses.

Considering the next horizon is so exciting because there are so many incredible things happening in simulation. With the increased emphasis on demonstration of competence within nursing curriculums, I think we will see a push for development of simulation modalities that can help us more directly observe and measure nursing student competence. For example, I think we will see a push for implementation of simulation programs across curriculums that map actual or modified quality of nursing care indicators from the hospital side (quality indicators). I think to some degree we already have some of the equipment and technology we need to do this, but developing these programs will take manpower investment to develop, map and manage simulations and to train and compensate standardized patients (so the funding need is really in those areas). I think investment to support this level of mapping makes good sense though, as again, it is likely mutually beneficial across academic and hospital entities.

Additionally, I think expansion of nursing specific opportunities and interprofessional education opportunities to address critical safety issues and teamwork development will continue to evolve. Exploration of more flexible methods, such as virtual reality simulations or online asynchronous game worlds, that can overcome scheduling and location challenges while still meeting learning objectives, will likely grow.”

—Kristen M. Poston, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, CHSE, Assistant Professor and Lead Faculty for Undergraduate Programs

“The College of Nursing is using simulation education in many ways to add a realistic learning experience for our students in a safe environment. Students also have the opportunity to practice nursing skills as well as work through patient scenarios using high fidelity mannequins. We have the ability to change the high fidelity mannequins’ heart sounds, lung sounds, etc., which creates a more realistic learning experience. Recently, we developed a new hybrid simulation that is used in the Medical-Surgical Nursing course which utilizes a standardized patient (trained actor) wearing a catheter trainer so that students can practice communication skills along with nursing skills.

The future of nursing simulation includes more realistic mannequins with more humanistic features and ways to simulate real patient scenarios. Also, virtual reality simulation offers a new way to train nursing students. The benefits include access to learning from anywhere at any time in a 3D realistic health care setting, and access to hundreds of different patient scenarios which can promote critical thinking skills without causing harm to a patient.”

—Jennifer Ciccone, MSN, RN, CHSE Simulation Lab Instructor

“We’re incorporating advanced technology using high fidelity mannequins and devices to allow students to gain a hands-on student-patient experience before they go into the clinical unit. What’s next? Virtual and augmented reality to make the student’s experience feel even more authentic than it already is.”

—Alexis Williams, Simulation Assistant

CON SIM team

L-R: Ciccone, Poston, WIlliams