By: Mary Beth Bigley, Jaclyn Conelius, and Tonya Schneidereith
The Report of the National Task Force on Quality Nurse Practitioner Education recommends the use of simulation to augment Nurse Practitioner (NP) clinical learning experiences, particularly to address high-risk, low-frequency incidents. This report clearly expresses that simulation experiences may only be counted as clinical hours over and above the required, minimum 500 direct patient care clinical hours. There are calls from NP educators to change this position and allow for the substitution of clinical hours with simulation, but at this time there isn’t enough quality evidence to support a change.
The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) continues to support use of simulation to augment clinical experiences. In 2019, a newly formed Simulation Committee began identifying and creating faculty development resources to help educators implement simulation into their NP education programs. These resources include a new simulation portal, workshops, and webinars.
The Simulation Portal is listed under the Education tab on the NONPF homepage. Here members will find additional content on: 1) simulation faculty development, 2) prebriefing and debriefing, 3) International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL) Standards of Best Practice (INACSL, 2016), 4) degree/certification programs, and 5) evaluation. While the list of degree and certificate programs is not exhaustive, it includes programs identified by stakeholders as high quality.
The portal also provides a list of associations and organizations that publish simulation standards along with additional resources. For example, the Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE, 2018) provides a Core Curriculum of fundamental knowledge and skills for standardized patient educators. The Core Curriculum is grounded in ASPE’s standards of practice and informs educators on best practices in SP-based education.
The three-part NONPF webinar series, Simulation Best Practices for Faculty, open to NONPF members and nonmembers, is another exciting opportunity for faculty development. The first webinar, Developing a Business Plan for Standardized Patient Simulation, explores how to implement a successful business plan. The second webinar, Simulation 101, provides information on the use of Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) and the underpinnings of simulation-based education. The final webinar in the series, Briefing Basics, will outline methods for prebriefing and debriefing graduate simulations. Recordings of the webinar series are also available for CEUs through March 2021.
As we continue to increase the science of simulation in NP education, NONPF is garnering experienced simulation faculty and resources to support NP faculty. The new, innovative Simulation Committee is planning future workshops for NP faculty, while also writing best practice guidelines for simulation. But we need your help. We need quality evidence to validate all the great work NP faculty are doing, including the effects of simulations on diagnostic reasoning, the development of simulation evaluation instruments, and comparisons of learning in simulation versus precepted clinical experiences.
Whether you are new to simulation pedagogy or seasoned, we hope that these resources are helpful. We appreciate all that you do to advance critical thinking, decision-making, and differential diagnoses of our future NPs. Now let’s go collect some data!
Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE). (2018). Retrieved from https://www.aspeducators.org/core-curriculum
INACSL Standards Committee. (2016). INACSL standards of best practice: SimulationSM debriefing. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 12, 21-25. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecns.2016.09.008
National Organization of Nurse Practitioner (NONPF). (2019). NONPF Simulation Portal. https://www.nonpf.org/page/SimPortal.