Simulation training is an integral component of the RN curriculum.  With the exception of the psychiatry-mental health course which does not have a simulation component, simulation is incorporated into all of the undergraduate nursing courses.  During the first year of study, there is a heavy emphasis on simulation focused largely on basic skills building.  Students also complete two to three days of clinical rotation during the upper division nursing major courses.  The clinical schedule consists of seven assignments at various sites in Miami and Broward Counties, ranging from academic teaching centers to private community hospitals.  Students complete clinical rotations in a number of general and specialized areas including primary care, outpatient care, nursing home, pediatric, obstetric, psych adult med surgery, ER and ICU.  In the final year of study, students complete advanced simulation training one to two days per semester during their clinical rotations.  This training focuses on high-risk, critical scenarios in nursing practice, developing the student’s critical thinking, problem solving and crisis resource management skills.  A minimum of 76 simulation hours are completed in the nursing program of study.

As our student progresses through the coursework, the patient scenarios become more complex, requiring students to draw on previous courses in order to treat the patient appropriately. In the ICU, the student will have a two patient load that will require appropriate prioritization of need and delegation of care.  In the adult lab, the focus is on caring for one patient.  Because the simulators are tetherless, they can be moved to create emergency care scenarios for the student to manage.  It is flexible enough to replicate clinical scenarios ranging from those commonly encountered in nursing practice to low-occurrence high-risk cases.  The technology adds a higher critical thinking component to student training. Simulation is a key component of the school’s retention efforts.  Students who are at risk of attrition complete simulation activities during one-on-one sessions with the simulation coordinators and course instructor.  These individual sessions ensure students adequately grasp the concepts being studied and have develop the required skills for clinical practice. 

The Course Coordinator meets with the student and identifies a plan of action to help the student succeed in the class.  The action plan consistently includes a heavy simulation component, given its effectiveness in helping students understand and apply theoretical concepts.  The simulation coordinator and the course faculty will meet one-on-one with the student to reinforce instruction covered during the term.  The individual sessions enables more individuals who begin the program to graduate and pursue nursing careers.

Students can perform various tasks and skills on the simulator.  The simulator is uniquely suitable for undergraduate students.  It allows faculty to recreate scenarios the student will likely encounter as a bedside RN.  The simulator has a higher degree of interaction and provides precise data delivery to the physiologic computer model, thereby reflecting a more accurate representation of the student’s actions or inactions.