Tips from BESD: Growing the emerging field of simulation in healthcare

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, March 12, 2010

by Mary E. Holtschneider, RN-BC, BSN, MPA, NREMT-P

Simulation in healthcare is often considered an emerging field. In the past 10-15 years, we have seen a variety of companies produce different technological teaching equipment, including computerized human patient simulators (HPS), smaller task trainers for specific hands-on skills, computer interactive devices, immersive learning or "serious games" computer platforms, and virtual reality programs. During this time, there has been a growing enthusiasm for this technology in healthcare professional schools, particularly in nursing and medicine. Although academic centers have generally led the way in simulation use and application, recently, hospitals and health systems have also begun to develop their own simulation programs and centers.

As staff development educators have witnessed, current nursing students from all levels of programs are being exposed to simulation modalities while in school. Many schools have sophisticated centers with well-trained and enthusiastic faculty members. New nursing graduates have come to expect that the institutions they work for will also employ these teaching methods, although that is not always the case. Many hospitals struggle with the startup costs of simulation equipment and educator training.

Editor's note: This excerpt was adapted from the March 2010 issue of Briefings on Evidence-Based Staff Development. Discover all the benefits of subscribing to Briefings on Evidence-Based Staff Development.

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