Advanced Medical Surgical Simulations at Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College School of Nursing has developed novel simulation scenarios that offer nursing students the opportunity to develop competence, safe practice and keener critical thinking skills. Students in the nursing program are also scheduled clinical rotations where they are assigned to patients with different disease processes. The clinical experience is limited in some respects due to the student’s lack of exposure to the patient’s admission, treatment plan, transfer to a medical/surgical unit and disease escalation with elevation of acuity levels. Students are experiencing simulations where a patient is admitted to the emergency room in an acute episode of a disease process and is stabilized in the emergency room.

Students will follow the emergency room patient who is then admitted to a medical/surgical care unit for further nursing management and interventions. The students experience exposure to varying mini-scenarios threaded into the simulations where they will experience receiving and interpreting complex medical orders, family stress and anxieties along with a deteriorating patient. Students are placed into scenarios where therapeutic communication, assessment, and critical thinking skills are implemented and developed with progressive changes in the patient’s condition.

The students will experience the ICU setting simulation where the patient who progressed from the ER to the unit suffers deterioration. In the ICU students are exposed to higher levels of acuity and complex treatment plans and orders. The patient suffers exacerbations in the ICU setting that challenges the student’s capacity to identify critical data points during assessments, develop a plan of interventions, identification of expected and unexpected outcomes and evaluation of care. As the scenarios progress students are guided by the nursing instructor through self-evaluation, interpretation of orders, recognition of appropriate interventions and the student of their performance.

Nursing simulations are incorporated into the curriculum that replicates patient care experiences that may not be accessible to the nursing students during clinical rotations. The ultimate goal and objective for progressive simulations is to provide the student a safe practice learning environment. Students are provided the opportunity to utilize their clinical skills and theoretical foundation to develop nursing diagnosis, assessment of presenting signs, symptoms and interventions and then evaluate outcomes.  Simulations offer a student the opportunity to develop self-confidence, competence, the opportunity to collaborate with multidisciplinary team members and cultivate a sense of safe practice. The student recognizes the potential for harmful practice in a safe environment during simulations.

Students who participate in high-fidelity nursing simulations find the stimulations have a strong impact on student self-confidence and clinical competence. *(Blum CA, Borglund S, Parcells D, 2010).

*Blum, C. A. (2010). High-fidelity nursing simulation: impact on student self-confidence and clinical competence. International Journal of Nursing Education and Scholarship , 7, 1-18.

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Elizabeth Gotay, MSN/INF,BSN,BS, is a Nursing faculty at Rasmussen College in Ocala , Fla. She has worked in the field for more than a year and a half. Gotay also has a degree from the University of Phoenix.

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