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April 18, 2024

6 Ways to Teach COPD to Nursing Students


Ginelle Testa
UbiSim Story Teller

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Considering chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death worldwide, it’s important nursing students learn how to work with patients with this condition. 

Effective teaching strategies are essential to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Here are six active learning approaches to teaching COPD to nursing students, enhancing their learning experience, and preparing them for real-world challenges.

1. Low-Fidelity Simulations

These simulations use basic tools and resources to mimic real-life scenarios, providing students with a hands-on learning experience that enhances their understanding of how to manage COPD in clinical settings. By incorporating low-fidelity simulations, like a chest tube, into learning, students can feel comfortable caring for these patients. 

2. Gamification Techniques

Gamification introduces game-playing elements, such as scoring points, competing with others, and following rules, into the educational process to enhance engagement and motivation. By incorporating gamification in COPD education, complex concepts can be simplified, making learning fun and effective. 
There’s a COPD card game that can be used!

3. Immersive Virtual Reality (VR) Tools

Leveraging immersive VR tools offers nursing students a unique opportunity to step into the shoes of a nurse. UbiSim is a VR platform built just for nurses by nurse educators. Through the COPD scenario in the UbiSim catalog, students can experience supporting the illness in a controlled yet realistic environment. They can make mistakes in VR so that they don’t make them in a clinical setting. 

Utilizing VR even helps prepare learners for the Next Gen NCLEX by boosting their clinical judgment skills. They have to decide what to do next, such as performing an assessment of the patient and implementing nursing interventions and provider orders as appropriate. VR is a great way to practice handling difficult conversations, such as discussing the importance of adherence to treatment plans.

A student using UbiSim found, “I’ve gotten a lot of experience using one scenario in particular, the COPD scenario with Charles Marx. Because of my experience with UbiSim, I could care for a patient with COPD with my eyes closed.” 

Patient with COPD in UbiSim

4. Role-Playing Scenarios

Role-playing is a dynamic teaching strategy that allows nursing students to practice communication, clinical decision-making, and patient education in a safe and supportive environment. By taking on roles such as the nurse, patient, or family member, students can explore different perspectives on diabetes management. 

This approach helps students develop empathy and improve their ability to educate and support patients in managing their COPD. 

5. Case Studies

Case studies are an effective way to connect theoretical knowledge with clinical practice. By analyzing real scenarios, students can apply their learning to help manage and provide holistic care to patients with diabetes. 

This method encourages critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and evidence-based practice. Case studies can be presented in various formats, such as written documents, videos, or interactive discussions, providing a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and complexities involved in diabetes care.

6. Connecting Topics to Real-world Scenarios

Integrating real-world scenarios into the curriculum ensures that nursing students can relate theoretical knowledge to practical applications. This can be achieved through guest lectures from COPD specialists or just thinking about a person in their life who has COPD. 

Such experiences enable students to observe and understand the impact of COPD on individuals and communities, reinforcing the importance of patient-centered care and public health education. Connecting learning to real-world situations prepares students for the realities of nursing practice and the role they will play in managing and preventing COPD.

Final Thoughts

Educating nursing students on COPD through innovative teaching strategies is vital in preparing them for the complexities of healthcare delivery. Educators can enhance active learning experiences, foster critical thinking, and equip students with the skills necessary to provide exceptional care to patients with COPD. These approaches not only improve knowledge and practical skills but also emphasize the importance of empathy, communication, and patient education in managing conditions like COPD.

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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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