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Industry Challenges
September 20, 2023

Preparing Nursing Students for Clinicals: The Role of a Director of Simulation in Nursing Education


Ginelle Testa
UbiSim Story Teller

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The adage "Practice makes perfect" takes on a critical meaning in the field of nursing education. Indeed, the right kind of practice can be a lifesaver— literally. This underscores the role of a Director of Simulation in nursing education, whose main goal is to create simulations that are as close to real-life clinical experiences as possible, using tools like high-fidelity manikins and immersive virtual reality.

Studies have demonstrated that students engaged in simulations are more likely to achieve learning outcomes related to Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) competencies than during supervised clinical experiences. This highlights the growing significance of the Director of Simulation role, who’s in charge of these simulated experiences.

Ways a Director of Simulation Prepares Learners for Clinicals

Bridging Theory and Practice

Perhaps one of the most important roles of the Director of Simulation is to bridge the gap between theoretical learning and practical application. By crafting simulations that closely mimic real-world scenarios, they ensure that students are not just textbook-smart but also clinically competent.

UbiSim is an immersive virtual reality platform built just for nurses by nurse educators. Dr. Barbour-Taylor from the University of West Florida said about her use of the platform, "[Students] really feel like they learn more from UbiSim than they do from the high-fidelity manikins, which at first I thought was odd. But, I think the more that we've used UbiSim over time, I think that we can see that it really bridges that clinical judgment.”

Curriculum Development

One of the first tasks is to integrate simulation into the existing nursing curriculum. This involves close collaboration with faculty members, curriculum developers, and sometimes even healthcare professionals from the field. The aim is to create scenarios that mirror actual clinical situations, helping students to apply theoretical knowledge in a controlled yet realistic environment.

Faculty Training

To execute a successful simulation program, faculty members must be well-versed in both the technology and the pedagogical methods involved. The Director of Simulation is often responsible for training faculty on how to manage simulation equipment and how to provide constructive feedback to students. Regular workshops and training sessions may be organized to keep the faculty updated on the latest simulation teaching techniques.

Resource Management

Simulations require a variety of resources ranging from high-fidelity manikins to specialized software programs like immersive virtual reality. The Director of Simulation must manage these resources efficiently, ensuring that equipment is up-to-date, functional, and readily available for training sessions. 

“We increased our program by 50%, but as you can imagine, physical space in the hospitals has not increased by 50%. And we’re not the only program in Manitoba that has expanded,” said Kimberly Workum, RN, BScN, MEd, CHSE, CCNE. Workum is the Director of the Clinical Competence Assessment Centre and Digital Strategy at the University of Manitoba College of Nursing.

Read the full case study on UbiSim’s site.

Student Assessment and Feedback

Assessment is a critical component of any educational endeavor. In simulation training, it's not just about evaluating student performance during the simulation but also before and after. Pre-briefings can be used to gauge baseline knowledge and set objectives, while debriefings allow for reflection and feedback. 

After each session in UbiSim, the learner will see automatically generated results/feedback. This includes all the actions they took during a session and identifies critical actions they successfully performed and performance gaps (critical actions they missed or actions they performed which they really should not have e.g., giving a patient the wrong medication).

Research and Continuous Improvement

Given the fast-evolving nature of healthcare, a Director of Simulation needs to be committed to ongoing research and development. This includes staying updated on advancements in simulation technology, implementing best practices in simulation pedagogy, and even contributing to scholarly research in the field. It is through this constant loop of research and application that the simulation program remains relevant and effective.

Want to prepare learners for clinicals using immersive virtual reality? Schedule a demo of UbiSim today!
Interested in trying UbiSim in your healthcare institution?
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Ginelle Testa
UbiSim Story Teller

As an integral center of UbiSim's content team, Ginelle pens stories on the rapidly changing landscape of VR in nursing simulation. Ginelle is committed to elevating the voices of practicing nurses, nurse educators, and program leaders who are making a difference.

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