By Harlyn Heath
There is a never-ending demand for high-quality patient care. Yet, there continues to be a widening skills gap caused by the early retirement of seasoned healthcare workers. MedPage Today stresses that this shortage is not a novel issue. A paper in Nursing Economics from 2010 estimated that more than 1 million registered nurses would retire from the workforce between 2010 to 2030 and take years of knowledge with them.
In response, the Institute of Medicine has called for more nurse training to meet healthcare demand since 2011, with their report recommending that 80% of nurses have bachelor’s degrees by 2020. Nurse economist Shawna Butler, RN, MBA tells MedPage Today that hospitals may throw early-career nurses into overwhelming, stressful critical care environments to make up for this shortage.
Nursing education and training have since adapted to meet the demands of these dynamic environments. This article will explore three key trends that have emerged as a result.
Increased interdisciplinary training exemplifies the shift toward holistic nursing education. This focuses on developing effective teamwork and collaboration, preparing nurses for the challenges of working alongside various healthcare professionals.
For instance, trauma care often involves coordination between nurses, physicians, paramedics, and other specialists. Teamwork training among trauma nurses has already shown positive effects in improving patients’ clinical outcomes, reducing errors, and preventing service delays. Here, nursing education programs incorporate collaborative training scenarios to simulate real-life trauma situations and build nurses’ clinical competence.
Real-world simulations provide a bridge between theory and practice. Nurses are not restricted by the limitations of virtual reality, which primarily relies on visuals and imagination to replicate health care procedures.
In the quest for excellence, nursing education has evolved to incorporate a substantial number of training hours in simulation. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL) recommend that pre-licensure nursing programs allocate between 50% to 75% of clinical education time to simulation experiences. On that note, all programs participating in the National Simulation Study requires at least 600 hours of clinical experience in the pre-licensure curriculum
Real-world simulations offer nursing students a safe space to develop their skills in a controlled and realistic environment. These simulations often involve high-fidelity mannequins, standardized patients, and interactive scenarios. The goal is to ensure that nursing graduates are well-prepared to deliver exceptional patient care and respond effectively in various clinical situations. For instance, the fully mobile TCCS Pro Series by Operative Experience provides a diverse range of training possibilities. These high-fidelity trauma simulators offer lifelike, high-fidelity emergency care scenarios with interchangeable wounds, advanced physiology and integrated patient monitoring. Such simulators ensure care providers are better prepared for the challenges of real-world healthcare settings.
Applications of augmented and virtual reality
Virtual reality promotes repetitive, hands-on training in a safe environment. This allows nurses to build cognitive and skill mastery and gain valuable experience. For instance, many nurses report feeling ill-equipped to communicate with HIV-positive patients. With virtual patient simulation, nurses can improve relational and communication skills and develop reflective learning and confidence.
While such results are impressive, reality technology isn’t new. In the 1960s, simulators with 3D images would help train nurses to make faster and more accurate diagnoses. Today, augmented reality in healthcare has evolved into widely accepted programs within nursing education. ProjectDR, for instance, projects medical images directly onto patients and is expected to soon also be featured in doctors’ offices. Otherwise, studies show that many nursing students already use augmented reality technology for self-learning. The resulting increase in academic performance among nursing students has led researchers to posit that such augmented reality applications will soon be regulated as an alternative to traditional textbooks and a part of holistic education.
Nursing education and training must remain at the forefront of innovation if nurses are to continue delivering the highest quality care to patients. Start revolutionizing your simulation-based healthcare training with Operative Experience, from the TCCS Pro Series for emergency care to the full curriculum of OBGYN care with the RealMom birthing simulator and the C-Celia Emergency C-Section Delivery Simulator, Postpartum Hemorrhage Control Trainer, Emergency Hysterectomy Trainer, and the Fetal Extraction Simulator for mastering labor and delivery procedures from normal to complex deliveries. With the latest medical simulators, future nurses will be equipped to adapt to the dynamic healthcare landscape.