It’s not easy to be a brand-new nurse. Understandably, many nurses who are fresh out of school feel overwhelmed and have some self-doubt about their ability to impact patient outcomes. They’re just beginning to build their on-the-job skills, which can lead to a lack of confidence, fear and even some intimidation from experienced nurses.

American Nurse Today shares that there are many things hospitals and healthcare organizations can do to help new nurses get started on the right foot and increase short- and long-term retention, including:

  • Create good support systems
  • Welcome new nurses via robust orientation programs
  • Offer new nurse mentoring programs
  • Set accurate expectations
  • Establish work-life balance policies to mitigate burnout

Simulated learning has an impact

While these efforts can make a big difference in helping nurses acclimate to their new environments, the quality of learners’ education programs and new nurses’ training programs have a big impact on how well they transition into practice. As American Nurse Today explains, “simulations can bridge the gap between knowledge already gained in academic curricula and skills needed to care for multiple, complex patients.”

Put simply, simulations put nursing learners into situations that replicate the scenarios they’ll face in their jobs. They have the chance to assess patients, make decisions, make mistakes without detriment and learn from those mistakes.

Healthcare Learning Innovation’s virtual clinical scenarios offer schools, hospitals and other organizations a vital tool that helps them build decision-making confidence. Learners work through progressively more difficult patient situations, improving their critical thinking abilities.

Here’s a look at four such virtual clinical scenarios:

  1. Prioritization of Care® – Nurses assess patients and prioritize their care, determining if they should visit an emergency room, urgent care clinic, inpatient facility, outpatient facility, mental health facility or some other specialty care clinic or facility. As they would in a hospital setting, learners record vital signs, interview, and chart their observations before deciding how to treat patients.
  2. Patient Management and Delegation® – The role of a charge nurse is vital, and this virtual clinical scenario teaches learners how to correctly assign patients to staff nurses, delegate appropriately to nursing assistants, etc. They work from SBAR handoff reports and staff nurse details.
  3. Nursing Quality Indicators – Nurses must understand how patient care decisions impact the quality and safety of a healthcare organizationThis virtual clinical scenario has nurses and learners care for unique patients across increasing levels of difficulty and predict the impact their decisions and other clinical judgments will have.
  4. Family Support and Home Assessments with Care Plan™ – Many nurses work in home health, so this scenario has students get to know patients in their home environment, record their observations, and develop care plans that improve patient care. The environments learners must evaluate include those that have drug use, health issues, and safety issues. As nurses must do in a real-world environment, in this virtual clinical scenario they learn to be observant and analytical in their thinking.

Practice and experience help nurses become experts, but virtual simulations can help nurses think deeply and draw upon their prior experience and knowledge in unique ways. A cultural organization and ensuring every nurse are equally confident is very important.  Simulations are arguably one of the best ways for learners to gain the practice experience they need to feel comfortable assuming a new position in a busy hospital or other healthcare settings.

Learn more about Healthcare Learning Innovations’ virtual clinical scenarios and how they enable new nurses adjust quickly to their new clinical settings.