A FREE, Digital Resource for Virtual Simulations

A FREE, Digital Resource for Virtual Simulations

Written by Elizabeth S. Robison, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE, CHSE-A
OADN Simulation Task Force Member/Professor Emeritus at Northwest Florida State College

Published August 2022

Maybe you did not have the opportunity to attend (in person or virtually) the 2022 Nursing Education Accreditation Conference in Atlanta this past July to learn about a resource to augment your curriculum…but no worries…I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to this resource. As a member of the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (OADN) Simulation Task Force (soon to be the OADN Simulation Committee) and as someone previously involved with simulation within a prelicensure nursing program, I have had the privilege of assisting a team of nurse educators with simulation experience to review virtual simulation resources available both as open access and paid products by vendors.

Returning to an in-person conference reminded me of the importance of networking with others passionate about nursing education as well as sharing information formally and informally. What I learned from my presentation was that very few attendees were aware of this free resource. I also met several nurse administrators who had a common theme: a shortage of nurse educators, increased use of part-time clinical faculty, and having instructor applicants with little experience in education. A free resource that has been vetted by other nurse educators can assist faculty with identifying opportunities to fill gaps within their curriculum using open access virtual simulation products. This resource can also assist nurse administrators in examining vendor products, which might provide alternatives to onsite clinical experiences within the parameters allowed by their state board of nursing. Elements included in the resources meant to assist decision-makers include: a summary of key features, content type, cost, whether or not a demonstration is available from a paid vendor, equipment, faculty and student support, and other features regarding QSEN and NCLEX Test Plan mapping. The COVID-19 pandemic has afforded nursing education programs the opportunity to explore other modalities to expose nursing students to experiences virtually, which supports end-of-program student learning outcomes.

The development of this free resource, the OADN Virtual Simulation Reviews (VSR) database, is a result of a joint effort between OADN and Unbound Medicine, Inc. Individuals can sign up for free, then search within this database to find resources that support their course objectives. The OADN VSR site continually evolves as volunteer reviewers update existing reviews and add new vendor products to the portal. The functionality provided by the digital expert team from Unbound Medicine, Inc. allows a user-friendly site with the ability to conduct a quick search. An additional feature includes a product list by subject, which includes DEI, health assessment, maternal & newborn, medical-surgical, pediatrics, and sexual identity and gender orientation. This digital database has other user options to make a note within a product, identify favorite products, and most importantly, provide feedback to the team on opportunities to improve this free resource. Specific information on how this resource was developed is published in a special edition on innovation and creativity in nursing education in OADN’s journal, Teaching and Learning in Nursing, OADN Virtual Simulation Reviews: Team Collaboration to Develop an Online Resource to Assist Nurse Educators.

Recognizing the changing landscape of expertise within nursing education programs, part of the review information is how the product aligns with the Healthcare Simulation Standards of Best Practice (HSSOBP)TM: Simulation Design published by the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL). As an internationally recognized association dedicated to advancing the science of healthcare simulation, INACSL publishes ten HSSOBP standards on their website and within the Clinical Simulation in Nursing journal as open access articles. Incorporating simulation within the curriculum requires an understanding of best practices and application within the curriculum to support accreditation criteria. Use of evidence-based practice is important for the accreditation process, and it remains part of the 2023 ACEN Standards and Criteria. The 2023 Standards and Criteria, which were showcased at the Nursing Education Accreditation Conference hosted by the ACEN, resonated with me on how virtual simulation can bridge gaps within the curriculum due to a variety of reasons, which may include lack of specialty clinical sites or diversity in experience, bringing contemporary healthcare environments within a virtual space. Incorporation of virtual simulation can provide consistent experiences for all learners.

Providing information on open access virtual simulation resources was a top priority and the initial focus of the OADN Simulation Task Force as the team started this journey, as program funding may limit access to vendor virtual simulation products. Another priority of the task force was providing education related to simulation. Many team members have recorded webinars available on the VSR site, providing information on ways to integrate virtual simulation in prelicensure nursing programs. Currently, several team members are involved with developing educational content for a workshop on simulation’s role in next-generation NCLEX success for this year’s OADN Annual Convention in New Orleans. Whether you are a nurse educator or administrator, recognizing the existence of this free resource can provide programs additional options and information on curriculum integration of virtual products, as programs continue to face challenges in educating nursing students.