Article excerpt


The human patient simulator (HPS) has recently been introduced as an adjunct technology in nursing education. An international survey of nursing schools and simulation centers that collaborate with nursing schools and have purchased a Medical Education Technologies, Inc. (METI) HPS(TM) was undertaken in 2002. Thirty-four schools of nursing (18 based in universities and 16 based in community colleges) and six simulation centers participated in the survey. Information gathered from the survey and reported on in this article includes curricular use, faculty time and use, student opinions, evaluation, and other uses of the HPS, specifically in research and continuing education. The results provide a foundation for early use of the HPS in nursing education at all levels.

Keywords Nursing Education - Simulation Centers - Human Patient Simulator - Student Evaluation

HUMAN PATIENT SIMULATORS (HPSs), FULLY COMPUTLRIZED MANNEQUINS THAT CAN BE PROGRAMMED TO TEACH PATHOPHYSIOLOGY, PHARMACOLOGY, AND COMPREHENSIVE SCENARIO TESTING OF ONE OR MORE CRITICAL HEALTH INCIDENTS, HAVE BEEN WIDELY USED IN MEDICAL SCHOOLS SINCE THE 1980s. They have been used in nursing schools for fewer than 10 years. The literature on the use of the HPS in the nursing curriculum is sparse since many nursing programs have just begun to use this technology, and some have not yet explored the myriad of ways in which the HPS can be used in instruction. * At this time, the full scope of HPS use remains unknown. The purpose of this international survey was to examine such use, specifically addressing courses and percentage of use, training of faculty and staff, how the HPS is used for evaluating specific competencies, other uses for this technology, and student opinions.

The Current Literature Three reports on HPS use in nursing education appeared in 1998. 1) Fletcher (1) discussed her adaptation of the anesthesiologist's simulator-assisted curriculum - anesthesia crisis resource management - for nurse anesthetists. 2) Monti and colleagues (2), describing how a scenario prepared for use with an HPS can be used at either the undergraduate or graduate level to teach physiology, pathology, and pharmacology, presented a checklist of critical behaviors that students are evaluated on throughout their performance of a scenario. 3) O'Donnell and colleagues (3) described a similar process for teaching nurse anesthesia skills and knowledge to graduate nurse anesthesia students.

In 2001 and 2002, Nehring and her colleagues (4,5) provided a comprehensive discussion of the history of simulation in nursing education programs; the advantages and disadvantages of using human patient simulation in the nursing curriculum; educational, research, and evaluation uses; and administrative issues. Rauen (6) emphasized the value of the technology in teaching critical thinking skills to nursing students. More recently, Peteani (7) provided a business plan for obtaining a simulator for nursing education, and Nehring and Lashley (8) discussed critical incident nursing management, a conceptual nursing practice model that incorporates the HPS.

Methodology for the Survey SAMPLE The authors obtained the list of nursing programs in community colleges and universities, simulation centers, hospitals, armed services bases, other higher education institutions, and businesses that had purchased a Medical Education Technologies, Inc. (METI) Human Patient Simulator(TM) prior to 2002. Surveys were sent to 66 nursing programs, as well as to 150 simulation centers, hospitals, and other higher education institutions that had a nursing program located nearby. Recipients from places other than nursing schools were asked to forward the survey to the nursing programs that participated in the use of their HPS or to complete the survey in terms of the nursing education they provided.

Surveys were mailed in January 2002 along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope. …