While nurses are graduating their programs well-versed in scientific and medical concepts, studies show an ongoing lack of clinical confidence and decision-making skills.

Both employers and their employees know this gap exists. Students and graduates know they have these deficiencies, which are made worse by understaffed hospitals and widespread shortages of direct clinicals, and they lack confidence because of it. Employers are struggling with the influx of educated nurses who lack the experience needed to safely implement what they know towards positive health outcomes.

In order to leverage the most appropriate solutions to address these deficiencies, research has emerged characterizing the existing shortcomings in clinical prioritization of care.

What is Prioritization of Care?

When implemented properly, prioritization of care involves the allocation of health provider resources in order to address patients in the appropriate order to minimize risk and meet their needs.

Providers need not reinvent the wheel every day in order to properly prioritize care. There are trends in case volume and patient traffic that—combined with experience in treating various conditions and levels of risk in parallel—can guide best practices and streamline delivery of care.

But in order for providers, including nurses, to properly prioritize care, they invariably need experience. Between the current nursing shortage that only continues to evolve, and the limited opportunity for experience in direct clinical settings, it is more difficult than ever to get real-time experience.

This where nursing simulations have proven to be extremely careful, both for providing the type of confidence-building experience combined with real-time feedback that enhances situational learning.

How Can Virtual Nursing Simulations Train on Prioritization of Care?

The use of simulation in nursing education can help teach and train on prioritization of care with no risk for patients, whether in the hospital or clinic settings. Students interact directly with patients, from taking vital signs through charting observations, all the while receiving direct real-time feedback.

Recent research sheds light on further ways that virtual nursing simulation can help keep nurses up-to-date in a rapidly evolving career.

  • Combined management approaches to treat comorbidities are on the rise to address widespread incidence of conditions such as heart disease with chronic kidney disease. From developing confidence in prioritization of care through getting comfortable with the latest best practices, virtual nursing simulations create a safe environment for learners to develop their treatment approaches.
  • Institutions large and local alike can use virtual nursing simulations to align their staff to reinforce the same best practices across teams. By instructing on and enforcing standards of care across entire teams, patients are protected, staff is supported, and institutions may be protected as well.
  • There is a delicate interplay between physical, behavioral, and social needs for every patient. Coordinating care across these needs can be tricky and intimidating. More research has continued to emerge showcasing the importance of integrating care while also providing support to families and caregivers.
  • Nurses who practice prioritization of care skills via virtual nursing simulations show statistically significant increases in confidence.
  • Studies have been pointing to the efficacy of the use of virtual nursing simulations to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Gaining familiarity with real-life scenarios helps with the transition between the classroom and clinical practice, mitigating the risks faced by both patients and providers alike.