January 10, 2023By Lance Baily

Virtual Simulation Use Across Associate Degree Nursing Programs

One option for learners hoping to enter the field of nursing is to enroll in an associate degree nursing (ADN) education program. As these programs are largely accessible throughout the United States and can offer quality instruction to a diverse population of learners, their instruction directly impacts the field as a whole. This is why proper training of these learners is so important, and learning techniques must be able to properly convey the knowledge and skills necessary in practice. This HealthySimulation.com article shares how healthcare simulation can be employed across ADN programs to ensure successful learning outcomes.

According to Laura Gonzalez, Ph.D., APRN, CNE, CHSE-A, ANEF, FAAN, the VP, of Clinical Learning Resources at Sentinel U, today’s ADN enrollment typically includes large numbers of underrepresented low-income learners. She explains that many ADN programs are underfunded which means community colleges often lack the essential resources required to support faculty development.

Yet, Gonzalez shares that one solution to these barriers is virtual simulation, an affordable alternative that can be incorporated into the nursing curriculum seamlessly. When used correctly, Gonzalez says that virtual simulation can help bridge the gap between traditional simulation and clinical placement. The practice can also be used for remediation and assessment.

Sponsored Content:

To expand on this topic, Gonzalez will present a HealthySimulation.com LEARN Platform webinar titled “Improving Associate Degree Nursing Outcomes with Virtual Simulation” on January 18 at 9 AM PST, UTC-8. This one-hour, intermediate CE clinical simulation webinar presentation will explore the state of ADN education and the unique opportunities virtual simulation can provide to improve clinical outcomes. Upon participating in this healthcare simulation webinar, learners will be able to:

  1. Appreciate the state of associate degree nursing
  2. Understand the unique needs of ADN students
  3. Apply screen-based virtual simulation curricular recommendations

Specifically, this session will share best practices when adopting a screen-based clinical simulation solution. Gonzalez, along with Martina Harris, Dean of Nursing and Allied Health at Chattanooga State Community College, will explore the value of screen-based simulation in an ADN nursing program and make curricular recommendations.

Supporting Nursing Simulation Research

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many nursing programs having to switch to remote learning options to continue instruction. As a result, virtual simulation has become much more prevalent across these programs. The article “Blended learning via distance in pre-registration nursing education: A scoping review” shares how incorporating virtual learning into a program can have a positive impact on the learners enrolled. To determine the effectiveness of virtual learning, the researchers mapped relevant literature by performing computerized searches of six electronic databases.

Sponsored Content:

From their findings, the researchers identified four barriers to quality learning outcomes among ADN learners, which include active learning, technological barriers, support, and communication. They also found that “pre-registration nursing students find it challenging to engage with “active” teaching methods such as collaboration and online activities.”

Another conclusion made following the study was that learner confidence, satisfaction, and motivation to engage in blended learning programs increased as the learners interacted and they became more familiar with their program. The ability to collaborate with peers, adjust to the learning role and be comfortable with the academic learning environment once orientated to learning programs also reportedly increased confidence over time.

Nursing learners added that, when enrolled in a virtual nursing degree program, the online courses had an easier course workload; and the convenience of coordinating schedules of work, family, and school activities occurred. They attributed other factors related to their success with virtual nursing to have been online course delivery via the computer, information technology skills, and learning preferences.

Similarly, the research article titled “Use and Effectiveness of Virtual Simulations in Nursing Student Education: An Umbrella Review,” explored the use and effectiveness of virtual simulations in prelicensure nursing education. In doing this, they assessed the experience of 7,600 nursing learners who engaged with five different virtual (screen-based) simulation modalities. These researchers also found that “virtual simulations can be effective in developing nursing students’ knowledge and psychomotor and psychosocial skills.”

Along with this general conclusion, the authors found that there were conclusive benefits of virtual simulations for developing clinical reasoning. Learners also found virtual simulations to be “accessible, fun, and engaging ways to learn.” Although technological challenges may arise, virtual simulation provides a means for educators to extend their reach and ability to teach remotely. This helps them better prepare for scenarios that require remote learning, such as social distancing requirements.

Note, even before COVID-19, virtual simulation in nursing was being recognized as a promising use of technology. The bookVirtual Simulation in Nursing Education,” written by Randy M. Gordon, DNP, FNP-BC, and Dee McGonigle, Ph.D., RN, CNE, FAAN, ANEF, explains that there are many benefits of virtual simulation, such as increased ease of access to vast numbers of the population. The ability for learners to repeat the program also helps them improve upon their skills, as does lower levels of performance anxiety as compared to in-person learning.

Yet, for virtual learning to really be successful, the authors stress that the administration must be on board with this use of technology. They share that administrators must recognize the learning potential of the technological tools available and hardness them to help enhance learning.

Additional HealthySimualtion.com Sentinel U Articles

About Sentinel U

Sentinel U is a leading provider of healthcare simulations and learning innovations for nursing learners and healthcare professionals. The company’s authentic virtual simulations and clinical experiences are the best practice in engaging learners in real-world scenarios to gain unparalleled clinical judgment and critical thinking experience. A division of the American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Post University, Sentinel U is an industry leader in virtual simulation education for more than 130,000 learner experiences worldwide.

Register for the Upcoming ADN Virtual Simulation Webinar Here

Sponsored Content: