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Simulated patients

07 December 2023
Volume 32 · Issue 22

One of the consistent challenges in nurse education is the lack of coordination between theory and practice. Students often encounter difficulties in the practical implementation of theoretical knowledge. The distance created between theory and practice complicates the learning process and the lack of understanding of nursing terms and concepts affects professional integration (Kim et al, 2013). The current pressures on the NHS, limited placement capacity, and reduced clinical opportunities have given rise to an increased need for simulated learning environments to bridge these gaps. This has been recognised by the updated Nursing and Midwifery Council (2023) permanent standard, allowing up to 600 simulated practice learning hours. The standard identifies that simulated practice learning enables students to build confidence and skills in a range of situations that may be infrequently encountered in practice.

With an increasing focus on patient safety, and direct supervision in clinical practice becoming more challenging, the role of simulation to complement or replace clinical placements is becoming increasingly important. Evidence suggests that simulation can enable the workforce to acquire skills more efficiently than relying on opportunities to gain these skills as part of routine clinical practice. Simulation provides a variety of practical opportunities and enables participants to make immediate decisions and reflections. It is also seen as offering an important route to safer care for patients (Aggarwal et al, 2010). Simulation embraces technical and operative skills as well as non-technical skills (such as communication), and cognitive ability (such as decision making, managing uncertainty) and can be delivered using a variety of modalities.

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