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From Classroom to Clinic: The Transition of Nursing Students Using Simulation Tools

From Classroom to Clinic: The Transition of Nursing Students Using Simulation Tools

Nursing students spend years in classrooms learning medical terminology and clinical procedures to assist doctors and treat patients. However, transitioning from the classroom to a clinical setting is a different experience because they must test their newfound knowledge and skills in real-world scenarios. 

Fortunately, there is no risk to actual patients. The nursing students use simulation tools to maintain total safety during their clinical training. Simulation gives nursing students the freedom to make mistakes and errors in clinical settings without real-life repercussions. That way, patients remain safe while nursing students can avoid stressing out over the possibility of harming someone.

The Top Simulation Tools for Nursing Students

Simulation training for nursing students has evolved significantly over the years. Nursing students can now access advanced simulation training tools to safely and productively enhance their nursing educational experience. Some of these tools don’t require nursing students to visit classrooms or clinical settings. Instead, they allow nursing students to practice realistic techniques used in clinical settings.  

Below are the top six simulation tools for nursing students transitioning from a classroom to a clinical setting. 

1) Simulated Medications

Nursing students don’t have to worry about administering the wrong medications when treating a patient because they will use simulated medications rather than real ones. Simulated medications are imitations of real-life medications, such as medicine vials, pre-filled syringes, IV bags, and oral medications. 

Administering a simulated medication to a patient will not affect them because it contains no authentic drugs. The cosmetics and design of the simulated medication packaging will look the same, but the contents inside are merely a placebo. Therefore, nursing students will not harm a patient if they give them the wrong medication during their simulated clinical training. 

2) Low-Fidelity Mannequins

Low-fidelity mannequins are practice dummies or models with limited technological capabilities. Most people have seen these mannequins before because they are used to train people in CPR. Nursing students also use them to practice their skills in administering airway management, breast examinations, injections, defibrillation, and inserting IVs.  

Low-fidelity mannequins can have full-sized or partial-sized bodies, depending on the training practiced. They are all static patient models that don’t look very realistic, but they are suitable for practicing repetitive medical tasks that don’t require the mannequins to move. Some schools may add bandages, fake bruises, or fake blood to their low-fidelity mannequins to enhance their realism. 

3) High-Fidelity Mannequins

High-fidelity mannequins are technologically sophisticated mannequins that can simulate realistic responses during medical procedures performed on them. Not only do these mannequins look like real-life patients, but they can replicate human physiology as they respond to medical treatment. They are the perfect simulation tools for providing hands-on clinical training to nurse students without risk to human patients. 

High-fidelity mannequins have the technological capabilities of generating breathing sounds, vital signs, and reactions to medication injections. Schools will invest more money in purchasing high-fidelity mannequins to create the most realistic clinical setting possible for nursing students. 

4) Virtual Reality

Several advancements have been made to virtual reality technology over the last decade. Nursing students can now use virtual reality headsets to digitally transport themselves to a virtual clinical setting with realistic patients and surroundings. They can practice communicating with patients, assessing their medical conditions, reviewing their medical history, and more. 

Virtual reality in nursing education creates an interactive 3D world to optimize the learning experience for nursing students. It can help them build confidence in managing patients before doing it in a natural clinical setting. 

5) Partial-Task Simulators

Partial-task simulators are models of specific body parts like arms, legs, knees, ears, and heads. Nursing students can use partial-task simulators to practice performing specific medical tasks that involve those body parts, such as inserting IVs, airway management, and ultrasounds.

Partial-task simulators are affordable and more accessible for schools to distribute to nursing students. Many schools prefer using partial-task simulators to low-fidelity or high-fidelity mannequins because of the lower cost and risk of damage. 

6) Standardized Patients

Simulation tools can also refer to real people as well. Standardized patients are human volunteers who act like actual patients during simulated clinical interactions between themselves and the nursing students. The standardized patients are trained to respond to nursing students in realistic ways during various simulated conversations and treatments.

For instance, a nursing student may practice explaining a medical procedure to a patient or giving them bad news regarding a health condition or illness. The standardized patients may also be used with other simulation tools, such as simulated medications and virtual reality. 

Working with standardized patients is essential for nursing students because they can practice interacting with and treating actual humans rather than mannequins and computerized patients. Of course, each simulated patient has its unique place during a nursing student’s transition from the classroom to a clinical setting. 

How Simulation Tools Can Impact Student Readiness

Nursing students must be 100% ready to enter a natural clinical setting and treat human patients. Simulation tools are the last step of the training process before nursing students start working with actual patients. They impact student readiness in the following ways:

1) Learn to Increase Safety

Nursing students will learn how to safely administer procedures and treatments to patients because simulation tools allow them to make mistakes without harming anyone. Learning to increase the safety level helps ensure that no patients are harmed in a real clinical setting after the transition. 

2) More Time to Train

Some simulation tools, such as virtual reality software and partial-task simulators, allow more time for nursing students to train outside their regular school hours. Students can pick up a VR headset or practice medical tasks on simulated body parts to improve their readiness whenever they want. Since some students will require more time to practice than what classrooms provide, simulation tools are essential for providing extra assistance to these students. 

3) Interactive and Realistic

Simulation tools provide interactive simulations to make the learning experience as realistic as possible. Students can apply the preliminary knowledge they acquired in the classroom setting in realistic simulations. By doing this, students can evaluate their strengths and weaknesses to improve themselves for real-world situations. 


Realistic simulation tools have changed how nursing students transition from the classroom to a clinical setting. Nursing students are now better prepared and capable of successfully treating patients when they enter a real clinical setting. And as the simulation technology improves, so will the readiness of nursing students that are entering a clinic for the first time. 

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