Overcoming the Barriers to Faculty Use of Simulation as a Teaching Strategy

Thursday, 16 July 2009: 10:50 AM

Ann Marie P. Mauro, PhD, RN, CNL
Cynthia Petermann, MSN, APN-C, SANE
Department of Adult Health Nursing, Seton Hall University, College of Nursing, South Orange, NJ

Learning Objective 1: describe methods to integrate human patient simulation into nursing curricula using the diffusion of innovations model.

Learning Objective 2: identify potential obstacles to nursing faculty use of human patient simulation as a teaching strategy.

Purpose: The objective was to provide nursing faculty with equipment, training and support in order to integrate human patient simulation as a teaching strategy across undergraduate and graduate curricula. The model of diffusion of innovations guided the process of communicating new information and motivating faculty to adopt simulation into their courses. The model describes five steps: gaining knowledge, becoming persuaded, deciding to adopt, implementing, and confirming the decision to adopt the new idea.

Methods: Phase one included acquisition of administrative support and resources for staff development, personnel, lab renovation, travel, equipment, and supplies. During phase two, full-time nursing faculty (N = 44) were invited to participate in individual training and small group workshops involving hands on practice. Guidelines for integrating simulation into existing courses, suggested assignments, part-time staff support, and laboratory policies were made available.

Results: Over 18 months, most faculty members (64%) received simulation training and achieved basic to advanced proficiencies. While the majority (86%) acquired basic skills, several faculty developed intermediate to advanced proficiencies and routinely utilized simulation (14%). Clinical faculty integrated simulation into undergraduate health assessment, fundamentals, acute medical-surgical, community, and obstetrical nursing courses. Psychiatric simulations were demonstrated at open houses for recruitment. There was significant resistance to using simulation in graduate courses. Lack of time, discomfort with the technology, scheduling issues, turnover, and insufficient funds for full-time support staff were the greatest obstacles. Despite these challenges, faculty and students viewed their experiences as realistic and positive.

Conclusion: Along with the required knowledge and skills, a high level of enthusiasm is vital when leading a new simulation integration initiative.  Faculty need to be persuaded and motivated to adopt human patient simulation as a teaching strategy. Training programs must be individualized, flexible, user-friendly, and provide opportunities for hands on practice.