Using Simulation-Based Education to Fulfill Clinical Hours

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a serious strain on the healthcare system, while simultaneously disrupting training for health professionals in in-person classes, clinical rotations, and licensing exams. Some states are easing requirements to help health professionals graduate and expedite their entry into the workforce. Elsewhere, there has been a call on policymakers to allow alternatives to clinical hours that provide students sufficient training and would allow them to graduate.

For example, the California Association of Colleges of Nursing and California Organization of Associate Degree Nursing requested that Governor Newsom give schools or nursing “flexibility to use simulations and online education models to enable students to fulfill their clinical hour requirements.” The Society for Simulation in Healthcare and the International Nursing Association of Clinical Simulation and Learning issued a joint statement supporting the use of virtual simulation as a replacement for clinical hours. They say:

“Based on the current and anticipated shortage of healthcare workers, we propose that regulatory bodies and policymakers demonstrate flexibility by allowing the replacement of clinical hours usually completed in a healthcare setting with that of virtually simulated experiences during the pandemic. By supporting this innovative yet effective way of teaching as a solution to address the clinical hour shortage of health professions students, education efforts will continue seamlessly, and we will support timely career progression of healthcare providers needed immediately to battle COVID-19.”

Simulation-based education can be a solution for some schools of medicine, nursing, and social work by fulfilling certain requirements that are typically completed in-person.

Simulation-based education is particularly useful now, when the demand for healthcare workers is skyrocketing. Many schools of medicine plan to graduate health and medical students on time despite distance learning challenges, and some even plan to graduate medical students early so they can quickly join the fight against the virus.

When is Simulation-Based Education Appropriate?

There are many types of simulation-based education programs, as outlined in this blog post. You’re likely familiar with many of these as they are commonly used as part of a health student’s curriculum. The type of simulation used most often around the globe is online simulation; modules that can be completed remotely from a computer.

Simulations can be used to train healthcare students in cognitive, technical, and behavioral skills, without putting any actual patients at risk. While it can be argued that certain training experiences are best delivered in person, there are some advantages to simulation training:

  • Designed to teach material effectively, and can even be evidence-based
  • Provides a standardized experience that reduces training variability
  • Helps learners practice and build confidence in a safe setting before interacting with real patients
  • Allows for customization
  • Provides immediate feedback for individual learners

This is good news for schools that are trying to fulfill clinical hours without sacrificing quality curriculum.

Some topics translate better in a virtual environment than others, such as patient-provider communication—a topic that we specialize in here at Kognito, and that is growing in importance as healthcare institutions focus on patient-based care.

Are Kognito’s Healthcare Simulations Right For Your Program?

Our healthcare simulations leverage virtual patients to emulate real healthcare scenarios. A virtual coach helps students learn evidence-based techniques to have effective conversations with patients, and then students have the opportunity to practice these techniques in a safe learning environment (like their couch!). The virtual coach then provides personalized feedback, allowing students to hone in on their skills without putting any real patients at risk.

“The way the Kognito simulation is done is the closest you can come to actually having a conversation like this, but still be doing it in an actual simulation … it’s the most realistic simulation that I have worked with.”
– Dr. Cathy Koetting D.N.P., APRN, CPNP, NP-C, Assistant Professor, Saint Louis University School of Nursing

Our simulation-based education solutions have been deployed by schools of health professions, as well as leading healthcare organizations, and state/local agencies. They use evidence-based approaches, are backed by peer-reviewed studies, and many can fulfill clinical requirements. Plus, they can be deployed quickly with little staff time needed for roll-out.

We want your students to gain valuable simulation-based education experiences that can help them improve their future patients’ social, emotional, and physical health. That’s why we’re offering complimentary access to two of our clinical role-play simulations through May 30th, 2020: SBI with Adolescents and Interpersonal Communication Skills. Access them here.

Simulation Recommended Learners Topics
SBI with Adolescents Schools of nursing and schools of social work Substance use, screening & brief intervention
Interpersonal Communication Skills Schools of medicine Motivational interviewing, antibiotic stewardship, opioid use disorder & more

If you’re reading this blog post after May 30, 2020 – not to worry! You can still try a free demo of our clinical simulations here.

Over 95% of our users recommend Kognito to their colleagues. By incorporating role-plays with virtual humans, our simulations provide instructionally superior experiences that result in measurable improvements. It’s distance learning that’s proven effective, scalable, replicable, and trackable.

You might discover that these virtual role-play simulations are more than a temporary replacement for assessment, and see the value virtual humans can add to your regular curriculum.

Want to learn more? Learn how you can take advantage of this opportunity, and help your healthcare students access quality simulation-based education while they continue their studies at home.

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