The Stimulating Simulation; does it prepare the student for the harsh reality of the patient?
Over the course of the last three years, Nursing Students have had to trade in testing their bedside manner, triage responses, and medical knowledge on their peers, mannequins, and even patients in clinical to virtual simulations.
Nursing Students, much like any other student, left the classroom in the spring of twenty-twenty under the impression that it would just be for a few weeks. But like most things over the last three years. They just didn’t go as anticipated.
So from Teddy Bears with cut-outs of Harry Styles tapped to the face, to roping in an unsuspecting relative Nursing Students had to adapt quickly to the ever-evolving surroundings, their work was judged through the lens of their computer, and as the pandemic became glaringly obvious that it wasn’t going to go away and Nurses were in high demand.
Nursing Students of tomorrow and their professors leaned into the changes. But how has that change truly impacted the emerging nurses of tomorrow?
The Critical need, and the Clinical Practice.
Hospitals growing rapidly wary of placing these fresh-faced nursing students trained virtually inside the workplace, especially surrounded by COVID-Patients not having actual clinical training and with the ever-present need growing as a result of the constant burnout rate from the more experienced nurses walking out.
Therefore less experienced nurses to supervise these fresh faces the critical need, and clinical practice of many states were looked at under a proverbial microscope.
Before the COVID-19 Pandemic, Nursing Students were required to spend 75% of their academic time in clinical training with direct contact with patients inside of hospitals.
In April of 2020 one month after the countrywide shutdown, the once governing guidance redefined their policies, allowing Nursing Students to fulfill only half of that 75% of clinical hours in simulated scenarios but notated that that decision would be reversed once the pandemic was over.
Stethoscope & Thermometer Vs. Electronic Health Records.
So the argument among peers does this new process actually prepares Nursing Students in the same fashion as the in-person clinical would.
Trading Stethoscopes and Thermometers for Electronic Health Records would be an argument alone to state that it would neglect specific skills that Nursing students would need to attain before being in a real-life situation. A nurse in an automated virtual reality setting would be trained to read numbers on the screen, and not rely on their hands, and instincts.
Nursing Students who have been trained in the virtual world have even stated that their worry has been that they would even lose sight of the person in the bed, or the simulation alone wouldn’t give them the true answers to the person in need.
Without the one on one mentorship, one would be able to encounter inside of the classroom from a more seasoned nurse of how to handle more sensitive medical procedures and patients there’s been a lot of fear mainly from those who have chosen nursing as an occupation that though they might ace their virtual clinical they wouldn’t ace the experience inside the hospitals.
How effective is the Nursing Program if it can only be Simulated?
Yes, though the missing component in the simulation would be the patient the scenarios and circumstances are 100% based on real patient situations, and arguably the simulation can allow the Nursing Student an opportunity to tune out all of the other distractions and focus on what exactly is affecting the diagnosis.
The main purpose behind the simulation isn’t to replace the overall clinical experience but to allow the Student to attain the acquisition of clinical skills through deliberate practice, rather than the apprentice style of learning.
An argument pro-simulation goes on to think that the apprentice style of learning teaches more bad habits to the Nursing Student that the Student would have to unlearn inside of their job.
A Good Nurse, Is a Needed Nurse.
So whether you agree with the Simulated classroom, or with the in-person peer-led, apprentice-style of learning, I am sure you’ll agree with the sentiment that Nurses are in need, and it doesn’t matter the style in which they were taught. What matters is that they are passionate about their patients’ care.
Nursing degrees are in high demand the curriculum and classrooms are always shifting and changing. But what never changes is what makes it or breaks it for those patients is the love of the Nurse.