Experiencing Loss in Simulation: A Meaningful Way to Integrate Theory into Practice

Tuesday, 10 November 2015: 8:50 AM

Debbie L. Rickeard, MSN, BScN, BA, RN, CCRN, CNE
Judy Bornais, BScN, BA, MSc, RN, CDE
Faculty of Nursing, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada

The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing developed Palliative and End-of-life Competencies which were disseminated in 2012.  Determining how to best incorporate competencies into a curriculum can be a challenge.  As educators, it is not possible to expose every student to every clinical situation.  Nursing graduates enter their professions often without ever having seen, much less obtained experience with, such high-stakes situations such as working with a patient who is living with or dying from a progressive life-threatening illness. But can experiencing death and dying be learned in a classroom setting? 

One solution is to use a simulated learning environment to allow students to experience loss in a safe setting with opportunities to debrief.  By complementing our traditional teaching with simulation, we, as educators, are addressing our need to do more with less. In making simulation real, we can deliver our teaching in an engaging yet effective manner, in so doing transform nursing education through a simulation-based pedagogy.

This presentation will describe the pedagogical approach and include feedback from fourth year nursing students involved in the end-of-life scenario.  Suggestions and recommendations for how such a simulated learning environment could be replicated in other institutions will be shared. This will include assisting students in learning how to approach patients and their family members with respect and dignity during this time.  As well as collaborating with other members of the healthcare team to deliver safe quality care in an emotionally charge scenario.