School of Nursing

Nursing students practice caring for an intubated patient.

SMU nursing students were the first to see simulation integrated into their training.

When planning was just getting under way for the Health Sciences Simulation Center (HSSC), the School of Nursing at Samuel Merritt University (SMU) established a strategic priority to integrate simulation into its entire curriculum for all pre-licensure and graduate programs. Today this goal is being achieved; in fact, all SMU nursing students now participate in simulations during their nursing curriculum.

Scroll down or click on the links below to learn how simulation fits into SMU's pre-licensure and masters programs for nurses:





Pre-licensure Nursing ↑ 

Nursing faculty teach pre-licensure students
using static manikins.

The California Board of Registered Nursing approves the use of simulated situations for 25 percent of a student's clinical rotation, as long as the scenarios include actual demonstrations involving the nursing process. At SMU, the Maternity and Pediatric faculties took the lead in bringing simulation into the pre-licensure programs. Today all pre-licensure clinical specialty courses are working toward having students spend one of every three clinical days doing simulations.

As the student progresses through the curriculum, the scenarios grow increasingly complex. During the first semester, task trainers and static manikins are introduced as part of a health assessment class. The nursing student' s first patient simulation scenarios revolve around basic technical and communication skills. Gradually the student is exposed to increasingly advanced technical tasks, more and more situational distractions, and interactions with a larger and more sophisticated multidisciplinary team.

Nursing students use human patient simulation
during an obstetrical rotation.

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Full days of clinical simulation are scheduled into the medical/surgical, critical care, pediatric, maternity, mental health and senior synthesis (Capstone) rotations.
  • Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN). At SMU's Learning Centers in San Francisco, San Mateo and Sacramento, the ABSN faculty uses Laerdal Vital Sim mid-fidelity simulators for scenarios in the pediatrics, maternity, and medical/surgical rotations. In late 2010 the San Francisco and San Mateo Learning Centers were able to purchase a SimNewB™ and a PROMPT Birthing Simulator from Laerdal. These simulators greatly enhance the high-fidelity manikin based simulation at these locations. In addition, ABSN students from the San Francisco and San Mateo Learning Centers come to the HSSC in Oakland to take part in high-fidelity simulations. The Sacramento Learning Center is equipped with a simulation suite and a SimMan® and SimBaby,™ and the faculty there have integrated simulation into their curriculum.
  • Entry Level Master of Science in Nursing (ELMSN). The ELMSN pre-licensure experience includes patient simulations as part of every ELMSN student's medical/surgical, critical care, and obstetrical clinical rotations, culminating in the senior synthesis.

Masters of Science in Nursing ↑ 

  • MS Nursing — Nurse Anesthesia (MSN-CRNA). This SMU program took the early lead in adopting simulation. More . . .
  • MSN — Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP). Students in this program use the Vital Sim manikins, partial task trainers and the pelvic simulator to improve and validate their proficiency with advanced health assessments. For this same purpose they also participate in scenarios with Standardized Patients.

More on SMU's School of Nursing.

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