July 11, 2019By Lance Baily

Latest Nursing Simulation Content from Pocket Nurse’s SimTalk Blog

The SimTalk Blog provides insightful articles for nursing simulation educators, ranging on topics from scenario development to selecting the right medication administration simulator, and from building inclusive programs to reducing cognitive overload for faculty educators — SimTalk Blog is covering it all. Today we share some of their latest published posts to help you build your healthcare simulation programs!

SimTalk Blog, supported by Pocket Nurse, has published over 230 articles since its creation in August 2016. Articles have covered a diverse range of topics including simulated participants, wearable technology, debriefing, mental health, the opioid epidemic, and healthcare professional safety. Content supports several fields of healthcare simulation education including nursing, EMS, pharmacy, simulation coordination, career technical education (CTE), and allied health.

SimTalk Blog also celebrates monthly and weekly health holidays, from Women’s History Month to EMS Week, and promotes the need for educational awareness for diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis, among other health issues.


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Pros and Cons of Running Unexpected Death Scenarios

A current issue the field of simulation education is how to best prepare students for a patient’s death – and if it’s even appropriate to do so within a scenario. Many medical simulation scenarios provide hands-on education for performing diagnostic tests, treating injuries, placing IVs or catheters, filling prescriptions, and giving shots (among many other types of simulation!), but should death be part of simulation scenarios?

According to Suzie Kardong-Edgren, RN, ANEF, CHSE, in the early days of simulation the “death” of a manikin was treated very cavalierly.3 “Oh well,” an instructor would say. “You just killed the patient. Let’s run through the scenario again and see if he survives this time.” Now, through debriefing and research studies, instructors are starting to understand how to better react in the face of possible “death” and in turn, give their learners options and opportunities for good outcomes.

Some undergraduate programs do not create scenarios that include patient death. With the awareness that learners may be grieving an event outside of the classroom, re-traumatizing them through simulated death is unconscionable. Other simulation instructors stop the simulation as soon as it is clear that the student actions are going to result in patient death. This way, the learner isn’t caught off guard by causing “death,” and the instructor can lead the learner to the correct treatment.


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Dr. Kardong-Edgren says, “There seems to be an emerging consensus of opinion that the manikin should not be killed or allowed to die unless that is the objective of the scenario and all learners are aware that this might/could occur.” For example, a scenario at Franciscan University runs through an end-of-life scenario in order to teach students empathy, compassion, and end-of-life care. Read the full article here.

3 Questions to Determine the Right Medication Management System for Medical Simulation

When a school is considering automated medication dispensing cabinets or carts (ADCs) for use in simulation education, they typically want to use the type of ADCs that are found in their local hospital system. This way, students will easily be able to adapt to real-life medication dispensing once they graduate and start their careers.

However, there is more to consider when investing in ADCs for education. Automated medication dispensing carts and cabinets are complex products with many different combinations of software. Throughout my time as a regional territory manager for Pocket Nurse, I’ve found that working through the following questions with my clients is the best way to determine exactly what kind of ADCs belong in their simulation labs. Questions addressed in this article include: “Is the system scalable?”, “Can patient profiles be created and updated as needs change?”, and “What are the ongoing costs?”. Read the full article here.

Cognitive Load Theory in Clinical Simulation

Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) is a theory about how people learn, derived from the current understanding of the limits of human cognition. CLT asserts that learning can only happen when there is “adequate room in working memory for processing of new information so that it can be stored in long-term memory.” Since many simulation instructors are themselves learners, effective debriefing can be challenging if working memory is overwhelmed.

For instructors, cognitive load comes into play when it is time to debrief. Simulation instructors are tasked with multiple duties in a short time frame, including observing and assessing participants, structuring the debrief to facilitating meaningful discussion, and providing psychological safety for students while fostering open and honest feedback. Read the full article here.

Instructors can manage intrinsic load by:

  • Matching debriefing difficulty to the skill level of the instructor
  • Aligning number and content of objectives to learning experience
  • Inviting expert speakers to facilitate the simulation or providing supplemental materials to students
  • Engaging in learner-centered debriefing strategies, which allows students with expertise to lead reflection
  • Providing a template or framework for the debrief, which reduces the burden of decision-making on the instructor

About Pocket Nurse

Pocket Nurse is nurse owned and operated and has been a trusted partner of simulation in healthcare education for nursing, EMS, pharmacy technology, and allied health since 1992. They provide over 5,000 simulation solutions to healthcare educators nationwide and are proud of their role in improving patient outcomes by enhancing suitable learning environments for future healthcare professionals.

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