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Developing pre-registration nurses' resilience to mass casualty situations through the pedagogy of simulation

10 February 2022
12 min read
Volume 31 · Issue 3


Simulation has become a core component of nursing curricular worldwide. Within a three-year, pre-registration degree typically students would not be exposed to disaster type situations and it was believed that a well-coordinated simulation exercise could replicate this. It was hoped that the simulation would require students to think quickly on their feet and transfer acquired skills. Worldwide disasters including the current novel coronavirus have, heightened the need for well-prepared resilient health professionals capable of responding to many different types of emergencies including mass casualty situations. The simulated event involved 80 adult field student nurses, 19 probationer police officers, 6 photojournalism students, 2 Welsh Ambulance paramedics, 5 staff from 203 Field Hospital, 2 St John Cymru Wales Officers, 1 community first responder and 6 Fire and Rescue personnel. All these individuals came together to undertake a simulated emergency response to a mass casualty incident. Behaviours and clinical skills were observed throughout the event along with interprofessional interactions

There has been an increased focus on simulation-based education in nursing for many years and it has been incorporated into many curricula worldwide (Cant and Cooper, 2010). This form of education aligns itself to the constructivist pedagogy, thus encouraging students to draw from the learning environment to form and enhance their deeper understanding, and also offers an opportunity to develop interprofessional activities (Ricketts, 2011). Simulation is now an integral part of nurse education, in its varying formats, and contributes to improving critical thinking, clinical reasoning skills and problem-solving without fear of causing any harm to patients (Sperlazza and Cangelosi, 2009). Jansen et al (2009) have suggested that simulation also allows for the refinement of communication and technical skills. Simulation has consequently been seen to provide real-life experiences in a safe and controlled environment (Henneman et al, 2007; Cant and Cooper, 2010; Sherlin and Quinn, 2016).

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