Experiential Learning: Simulation Will Help Fill the Gap
It remains unclear when and with what restrictions clinical sites may open for needed student training hours. Already, simulation labs are being heavily relied upon by programs to offer students opportunities to train for a wide range of healthcare scenarios while campuses are closed. Additionally, many campuses are offering their labs to assist the healthcare industry in their response to treating the Coronavirus. Respected associations and governing boards including the Society for Simulation in Healthcare and the International Nursing Association of Clinical Simulation have shared their support for “the use of virtual simulation as a replacement for clinical hours for students currently enrolled in health sciences professions (i.e. nursing students, medical students) during the current public health crisis caused by COVID-19. “
The hands-on training and exposure to treatment protocols will remain a necessity, and both virtual reality and simulation labs can augment the lack of clinical practice. Online simulations and previously recorded simulations are one option many programs are currently using during distance learning. With the return to campus, and as most simulation options will require in-person education, new student work protocols will be required. Considerations for PPE stations, new protocols for sanitation of materials (including VR headsets) and supplies as well as limitations on the number of students that can work in the lab at one time will all need to be taken into consideration. Last year, we shared a number of ideas and trends on this topic with College Planning & Management Magazine in our article “Experiential Learning in the Health Sciences.”
Over the next several weeks, we will stay close to this topic and address ways campuses may want to reconsider their program spaces going forward.