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August 2010, Volume 40 Number 8 , p 32 - 35


  • Tamela Kisner MSN, RN
  • Heidi Johnson-Anderson MSN, RN


NURSES MUST BE competent in critical thinking, problem solving, clinical judgment, and evidence-based practices and have the skills to achieve optimal patient outcomes. They must also be able to evolve from novice to expert as quickly as possible. Employers are requesting that nursing faculty better prepare students for entry into practice because they can't provide lengthy and costly orientation.1–3To address these issues, many nurse educators and staff development specialists are designing simulations for the classroom setting, the hospital setting, and regional and state simulation centers. Hospitals are also using simulation to teach their nurses skills and teamwork, in part because of the focus on patient safety."1Simulation is the portrayal of patient-care situations using manikins or people for the purpose of teaching clinicians complex tasks. For more information, see What are the advantages of simulation?Nurse educators and staff development specialists establishing a simulation program face several barriers, including equipment costs, space requirements, and preparation time. A state-of-the-art computerized manikin could cost up to $250,000.4 But many simulations can be created using a simple manikin or a staff member or student who plays the role of a patient. This article will tell you how to develop a simulation on a shoestring budget, step by step. First, let's begin with the room you'll use.Having a space that fully mimics the patient environment would be ideal, but with creativity and resourcefulness, you can develop a simulation almost anywhere. Turn to simple ways to make low-fidelity simulators a rich nursing experience. You can also seek out resources to help you improve the simulation. (See Look into grant funding.)The simulation classroom should replicate a patient's room. Choose a space large enough to accommodate a hospital bed, a bedside cabinet, an over-the-bed table, a bedside monitor, other patient-care supplies,

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