Purpose for the Program
As the nursing shortage increases nursing school admission also increases. Accredited nursing programs strive to provide nursing students with quality, up-to-date, innovative education. Rural nursing schools struggle to provide these students with adequate hands-on neonatal care. Decreasing obstetric care in rural hospitals and the competitive pool of clinical sites contribute to an increasing struggle. The purpose of this presentation is to disseminate the use of simulation education in our rural university setting.
Incorporation of at least six high-fidelity simulated clinical hours per student dedicated to the care of both the high- and low-risk neonate into a maternal–child nursing care course.
Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation
Initiation of the high-fidelity simulation program began with the purchase of two high-fidelity simulations capable of giving students experience with neonates in a safe, controlled environment. Faculty members attended an in-depth simulation training course to prepare for the program. A simulation lab area dedicated to these high-fidelity simulators in the most realistic environment available has been constructed. Simulation scenarios are incorporated into both the theoretical and clinical aspects of the course. Return demonstration from the students is utilized in reproduced real-life settings using realistic newborn scenarios. Students have the ability to ask questions and the instructor provides appropriate, immediate feedback. Using the high-fidelity simulation permits nursing faculty to provide high-quality clinical hours with hands-on experience to students who would otherwise receive minimal observation clinical time. The simulation lab does not take the place of current in-hospital clinical time but augments the students’ comfort and knowledge with additional hands-on clinical hours. Students and faculty verbalize an increased satisfaction and preparedness with the use of the simulated neonates.
Implications for Nursing Practice
Technology is progressing in health care and nursing schools by leaps and bounds. Nurse educators can utilize this technology to better prepare nursing students for practice. Use of high-fidelity simulation can provide hands-on experience to licensed personnel within rural hospital settings. Tough economic times may not lead the rural hospitals to purchase such equipment, but in collaboration with local nursing schools the hospitals can provide continuing education to their staff who may not receive frequent hands-on experience with high-acuity newborn circumstances. Collaboration between rural community hospitals and rural nursing schools may strengthen the clinical relationship and provide high-quality education to both organizations.