How to prepare for Nursing School Simulations

Let’s talk about how I prepare for the nerve wrecking nursing school simulations. I am hoping that it will bring you guys some ease when preparing for upcoming simulations.
First, expect to be nervous. It is interesting to see that my nursing peers and I feel comfortable providing care with patients, but when it comes time to stand in front of professors and knowing that they are grading you it is really difficult to keep your nerves calm.

So, let’s talk about what you can do to prepare for these simulations, and get all of your points.

Pre Simulation Work:

You will most likely have a pack of papers to complete before the actual simulation
So as you prepare make sure you can answer the following questions. If you can, then you are at a great point for being successful doing your simulation. In addition to completing any of the documents my teacher is requesting I make a “my brain” sheet with all of the necessary patient information. This is great to glance at if you don’t have the medical record in front of you while you are visiting with the patient. (My brain sheet includes; demographic information; health history; allergies; last vital signs; pending orders; current medications etc.)

Questions to help you prepare: 

-Who am I taking care of?
-What is their current chief complaint?
-When were they admitted?
-What was their last vital signs?
-Are they stable/unstable?
-Are their any pertinent events documented in the EMR that you should review, ask for further explanation, or follow up?
-What could be the worst thing that could happen to this patient during my time of care?
-What are the pending orders that I need to review and take action on?
-What are the current medications that the patient is taking?
-Are there any medications due to administer?
-What are the adverse effects/side effects/emergency reactions that the patient could exhibit if given any medications?
-Are there any medications that I should hold based on vitals, labs, or any other symptoms that the patient is exhibiting?
-What could happen that I would need to call the physician? Remember SBAR…
-What educational points should I teach on if I have the opportunity?
-If I were ____ (role i.e. student nurse, primary nurse, medication nurse, observer) what are my responsibilities?

These are just a few questions that I use to prepare for my simulations. I really do stress on understanding the background of the patient. Why are they are at the hospital? Review medications and any potential side effects. How do I assess the patient to make sure no complications are arising. Lastly, I work on patient education; making sure that the patient understand what is going on with their health; any discharge instructions; safety precautions etc.

Well, I hope this helps you prepare for simulation. Just remember simulations are a great learning experience. Take each of your simulations as an opportunity to grow, and learn how to become a better student nurse.

Hope everyone is ready to take a short break and finish strong.