Treating a gasping patient who’s reported severe shortness of breath or a postpartum mother who’s hemorrhaging can overwhelm a nursing student. Fortunately, simulated scenarios take the risk out of practicing in such emergencies. Unfortunately, not all nurse educators are trained to plan and implement these simulations to the same standards.
Scenarios that are too advanced or not properly planned can go wrong for students by creating panic, triggering post-traumatic stress disorder, and even causing them to change their majors.
Simulation is a powerful tool in healthcare education, but without education standards, too many students won’t get the most out of these experiences. If the educators who run the simulation labs aren’t trained to uphold a certain standard, lab experience may harm students by giving them a subpar education or a negative experience with the field.
The State of Education in Healthcare Simulation
There are currently nursing organizations that recommend standards or shadowing programs or that even offer certifications, fellowships, or boot camps to properly train and prepare nurse educators for using simulation in their teaching.
However, experts like Scott Atkinson, the Simulation Technology & Operations Specialist at Level 3 Healthcare, recommend a more formal, consistent pathway to becoming a simulation nurse educator.
Without these kinds of standards, it is impossible for educators to be on the same page when it comes to everything from curriculum and level of difficulty to safety and student satisfaction.
Establishing the Simulation Standard for Nurse Educators
To begin creating a standards matrix, professionals can look at the guidelines recommended by organizations like the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and the training currently offered by organizations like the National League for Nursing.
Whether the eventual formal pathway includes some combination of specific coursework, certifications, mentoring, exams, or ongoing professional development, many industry leaders agree it’s time to hash out the details.
The Benefits of a Simulation Standard in Healthcare
Although the creation of a standard is somewhat complicated, the benefits will be well worth the effort. A standard will benefit:
- Nurse educators by giving them career stability and assurance. Offering a formal certification or degree for nurse educators gives them confidence that their training can be used at most nursing simulation labs.
- Nursing students by ensuring they receive the same quality of education as their peers—because they will be awarded credentials based on the same requirements.
- Nursing schools by making it easier to evaluate whether educators have the necessary qualifications to run a successful simulation program.
- Healthcare and patients in general by guaranteeing a quality education for nurses. Patients will be able to expect a standard level of care regardless of where they are treated because all nurses will be educated in the same way in their simulation training.
Simulation labs are an important investment for healthcare’s academic institutions. However, if your nurse educators lack the skills or knowledge to properly train students, much of that investment may be going to waste. If you have questions about healthcare simulation or would like to continue the conversation with an expert, email Scott Atkinson, our Simulation Technology & Operations Specialist, at SAtkinson@l3hc.com.