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Viewpoints – Preparing Patient-Ready Students Means Stepping Up Simulation Experiences

Although clinical judgment has been in the spotlight given the changes coming on the Next Generation NCLEX, it’s not a new concept to nursing faculty. Preparing students for what to expect in the clinical setting is a cornerstone of any full nursing education, regardless of degree program. However, this new focus goes beyond basic performance skills as NCSBN’s Phil Dickison describes in our webinar earlier this year—it’s about how to train new nurses to think through situations.

This shift in perspective follows an alarming trend in new nurses over the last several years—research shows 65% of entry-level nurse errors were related to poor clinical decision-making, and 50% of entry-level nurses were involved in practice errors. These studies exemplify that new nurses aren’t at the level they need to be when they graduate.

Elsevier deeply values preparing new nurses to their utmost ability with a full suite of digital simulation solutions that goes beyond case studies. Simulation Learning System scenarios give students hands-on practice in a safe, controlled environment while SimChart gives them valuable practice with electronic health records (EHRs). Not only do these provide a foundation for screen-based scenarios, but we’re pushing the limits of what an immersive simulation can be with innovative technology like virtual reality.

Shadow Health is excited to join the Elsevier team and include our technology among the mix as a virtual screen-based simulation offering, giving new value to the suite with our Digital Clinical Experience (DCE). The DCE provides learners with an online, standardized patient experience in which they complete multiple care activities and can be used to measure clinical readiness as a replacement for clinical hours.

With extensive research over the years, we constantly innovate to meet the needs of faculty training future nurses in virtual patient scenarios. In our most recent research study, we wanted to find out whether learners became more efficient in several categories essential for patient care, including data collection, therapeutic communication, and care planning in health assessment. You can read the full white paper, but some of the most important findings we saw include:  

  • 82% of learners showed an increase in overall efficiency from the pre-test to the post-test assignment.
  • 67% of learners showed an increase in their therapeutic communication.
  • 68% of learners showed an increase in the number of correct care plan components identified per minute.

Although this shift in nursing education started before 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic made it even harder for faculty to give students experience with patients. Lack of available clinical settings open to take on new nurses meant nursing programs had to find new alternatives to provide students with the opportunity to develop these skills.

Whether you were using digital simulation solutions before or after the pandemic, they were not just a means to an end. Results like these show that students are not only learning those essential clinical judgment skills, but they’re improving in ways that meet the new expectation of new nurse graduates.  

Having as many touchpoints as possible to train your students is vital to keep up with the new demand and expectations of new nurses. To keep up with these changes in nursing education, you’ll need to make sure your students are ready.