Use Cases for Nursing Simulation in Urban & Rural Community Health Education

When teaching urban community health programs or rural community health students, Healthcare Simulation provides many benefits that should be considered. For example, In urban settings, there are increased risks for students new to community visits. In rural settings, great distances reduce the ability to tackle assignments in an effective manner. In both cases, providing access to rare patient cases that nursing simulation students and other professions must engage with is crucial! Here today we take a look at some key use cases for simulation in community health education via Healthcare Learning Innovation’s Sentinel City.

Use Cases for Clinical Simulation in Community Health

Family Support Assessment: Nursing students can use the nursing process applied to the family as their client. For this learning activity, students collect, analyze and synthesize data from a variety of sources to gain an understanding of family strengths, values and needs. They relate that information to physical and social determinants of health, to promote the family’s health and well-being.


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Home Safety Assessment and Care Plan: In this assignment, a student “walks” around home via an avatar and identifies health issues and concerns that impact an individual or family, with the intent of addressing health promotion and disease prevention. As a last step, the student pulls everything together into a care plan.

Windshield Survey: Students focus on one neighborhood or all four neighborhoods within Sentinel City urban simulation and compare/contrast them with the student’s local (real-world) neighborhood. Other options are to create an assignment in which students compare/contrast Sentinel Town rural community with Sentinel City urban environment or compare/contrast Sentinel Town’s rural environment with student’s local (real-world) neighborhood.

Community Health Subsystem Assignments: To better understand the type of services typically offered in community or population health, a student chooses one of the eight subsystem assignments – such as Health and Social Services, Education, Recreation, Safety and Transportation, etc. – using resources within and outside Sentinel City, then writes a paper on their research.

Create a Public Service Announcement: Based on a typical community health issue or initiative, the student is tasked with writing radio copy, creating a billboard, or developing a video to be used as part of a public service announcement.


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Day Care Emergency Scenario: Preparing for an active shooter event is essential. In this use case, a situation involving a gun is occurring at the Sentinel City daycare center. Students assess the situation to determine appropriate considerations for an emergency response plan by addressing the response and recovery phases of disaster/emergency situation management.

Population-Focused Interventions in a Rural Community: Students identify health issues or concerns that impact a specific population group living in a rural setting, with the intent of addressing health promotion and disease prevention.

Emergency Preparedness: Flooding in a Rural Community. According to the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and worldwide, accounting for 43% of all disaster events. In this use case, students address emergency management preparedness. They identify challenges specific to addressing emergencies in rural communities and develop an emergency response plan in the event of a flood in Sentinel Town.

Urban versus Rural Compare Contrast: Enhance critical thinking skills by examining similarities and/or differences between assets and resources in urban and rural communities.

Additional Benefits of Simulation in Nursing Education:

  • Virtual Clinical Scenario Use Cases
  • Assignment in an RN-BSN Capstone course
  • Practice for NCLEX
  • Assignment in nursing leadership course
  • Assignment in Nursing Fundamentals course
  • New nurse employee training at hospital
  • Charge Nurse preparation training at hospital

Georgia Highlands College Engages Nursing Students

Cynthia Carter has a lot of experience when it comes to education, both as a teacher and student. She is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Georgia Highlands College, has earned her Master’s in Nursing and in Health Education, and is studying for her Doctorate in Nursing as well. “One of the biggest issues I face is finding a way to make learning enjoyable. Students get bored looking up information and stressed out writing papers,” Carter remarks. Students today expect information to be delivered in ways that intrigue and motivate. They’ve grown up with technology and learn best when the experience is interactive, and especially when it includes visual and auditory components.

To date, she has had students explore the urban environment of Sentinel City and the rural setting of Sentinel Town for three semesters. It’s given her good opportunity to judge how effective the immersive environment is. “I feel it provides a great learning experience, more so than when writing a paper in many instances. Also, the simulation prompts them to support their choices with evidence-based practice research, to bring their own perspective to the situations and use critical thinking skills to make decisions in developing the patient’s plan of care.” It even can be inspirational. One of her students has said that Community Health Nursing was an area of nursing she had not considered until taking the course.

About Sentinel City Community Health (Urban City & Rural Town)

Sentinel City Urban Community is an engaging and rewarding way to learn what community and population health nursing is all about. This virtual urban city allows students to practice critical thinking, observation and care planning at no risk. By including the completely immersive virtual nursing scenario assignment – Family Support Assessment, Home Assessment, Nursing Diagnosis and Final Care Plan – nurse educators can accelerate learning.

Each trip into Sentinel Town rural community is a unique adventure. Faculty can choose from a variety of assignments to drive desired learning outcomes. Students have the opportunity to practice dealing with a health environment, without leaving home. Like all our products, Sentinel Town gives nurse educators a supplemental teaching tool for nursing education texts at pre-licensure (ADN and BSN), and post-licensure (RN-BSN) programs.

Virtual Clinical Simulations Webinar This Week: Healthcare Learning Innovations hands you the key to the city – Sentinel City – giving you access to its people, buildings and services. Originally developed to teach nursing students how to conduct windshield surveys, Sentinel City now includes 23-plus assignments. They cover everything from virtual urban community assessments to natural disasters and population-focused interventions – and there’s more to come.

April 9 at 12:30 p.m. EDT– Virtual Clinical Scenarios Webinar
April 10 at 12:30 p.m. EDT – Virtual Clinical Simulations Webinar

Learn More About Using Sim in Community Health Education on
Healthcare Learning Innovation’s Website!


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