Essay by: ISP047
Simulation as a tool for learning is just like children playing make believe. When I was younger my parents always encouraged make believe play because it fostered creativity and taught me how to react in certain situations. Today as a student nurse, I continue to “play make believe” when I participate in the simulation lab.
Simulation is a great tool for learning in all aspects of education and especially in nursing. Simulation is described by Durham and Alden (2008) as “a technique or device that attempts to create characteristics of the real world” (Durham & Alden, 2008, p.2). In nursing, simulation may be a simulated patient or situation that emulates that of a real clinical experience (Durham & Alden, 2008, p.2). Simulation in nursing has a plethora of benefits. It allows students to practice in “the clinical setting” without causing harm to patients (Medley & Horne, 2005, p. 31). Students are free to make mistakes and discuss what they did wrong immediately (Medley & Horne, 2004, p. 31). It is essential to nursing education to have this option because there are not enough teachers or resources to allow students adequate exposure to real patients (Medley & Horne, 2005, p. 31). Simulation allows students to become more proactive critical thinkers (Medley & Horne, 2054, p. 31). It also fosters team work amongst student nurses, as they work together to solve problems they will most likely face in a real life clinical setting.
I hope that in the next ten years more schools will take advantage of the innovative technology of simulation. Although some may argue that it is expensive, I would counter that it is a great investment that is essential for teaching nurses before they enter a hospital with real patients. I believe that investing in simulation technology will pay off because the students will come out of school more prepared and confident in their abilities. Also students that believe their school provided them with a great learning environment are more likely to become contributing alumni. I think a great option for students is to have what we call at my school an “open lab”. In open lab students can come and practice whatever it is they feel they need to work on during the provided open lab hours. Simulation based learning is essential to foster confident and experienced nurses. I believe that everyone should look to their childhood and remember to still play make believe.
Durham, C.F., & Alden, K.R. (2008). Chapter 51. Enhancing patient safety in nursing education through patient simulation. In R.G. Hughes (Ed.), Patient Safety and Quality (pp. 1-40). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Medley, C. F., & Horn, C. (2005). Using simulation technology for undergraduate nursing education. The Journal of Nursing Education, 44 (1), 31-34.