From the desk of Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, September 20, 2012

Editor’s note: This feature is written by nursing professional development expert Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN. Each week, Adrianne writes about an important issue in the area of professional development or answers reader questions. If you have a question for Adrianne, e-mail her at

Using simulation as a remediation tool

Being approached by nurse managers to offer remediation education is nothing new for nursing professional development (NPD) specialists. We also offer remediation work to help nurses and other members of the healthcare team who are struggling to achieve competency in various procedures and skills. Simulation activities, which recreate the circumstances similar to those that triggered the need for remediation, are an effective way to offer remediation that really helps with competency achievement and transfer of knowledge to the actual work setting. The situation does not have to involve a “serious” error. It can be used to help resolve a wide variety of problems.

A few weeks ago, I talked about two NPD specialists who offered a unique simulation approach to helping nurses who had made serious medication errors. These educators created simulations of challenging circumstances similar to those of the actual error. This helped educators identify the nurses’ knowledge, ability to deal with challenges, and commitment to patient care.

Simulation can be such a valuable teaching tool. Remediation can be frightening, embarrassing, and challenging for those nurses who must participate in it. Offering opportunities that replicate “real-life” situations such as medication administration, participation in a cardiac arrest, procedure performance, and other psychomotor skills are invaluable. Simulation can be offered in privacy between the NPD specialist and the nurse undergoing remediation. Opportunities to participate in “practice” simulations prior to being evaluated will also increase the opportunity to learn, enhance comfort level, and decrease fear.

Simulation is usually so much more effective than a simple CBL program or written post-test. It allows the learner to acquire knowledge and skills in a realistic setting. It also allows the learner to demonstrate his or her commitment to the learning experience and desire to improve his or her job performance.

I would love to hear from those of you who are using, or thinking about using, simulation as part of your remediation work!

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