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

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, November 21, 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

Simulation: Not for everyone!

Last week I mentioned that simulation was a “hot” topic at the recent Professional Nurse Educator Group (PNEG) conference. I think simulation is a great teaching tool. However, I seem to have gotten lost in the simulation hype and forgot that not all learners “thrive” in a simulated environment.

I attended a presentation at PNEG that helped me to remember that learners have different learning styles and simulation is not everyone’s preference. One session that I attended described not only how to effectively use simulation but how to help persons who were not comfortable in that medium. I suppose I somehow assumed that everyone liked simulation. Obviously this is not the case. One presenter described how some simulation participants actually became so stressed that they became physically ill!

The presenters reminded us to recognize those persons who were “stressed out” by having to perform and be observed in these types of situations. They worked with such persons by allowing ample practice time and assuring them that this was a learning technique designed to help them acquire knowledge and skills. When simulation was part of a competency assessment they emphasized the need to incorporate practice time and making sure that learners were quite comfortable with the equipment they would need to use.

I appreciate not only learning more about simulation, but being reminded to be alert to different learning styles and preferences.

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