A Computer Simulation for the Entry-Level Rn: Enhancing Clinical Decision Making

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Staff development educators struggle to prepare today's entry-level RN for effective decision making in a new healthcare climate that demands both skill and expertise with patients with high acuity levels. The clinical decision making simulator is an innovative approach to teaching and learning decision-making skills. The authors discuss the development and use of a computer simulation that provides repeated opportunities for clinical decision making for the newly licensed nurse without jeopardizing patient safety. An important component of staff development, inservice education, and nursing education is to prepare nurses for effective decision making in their day-to-day practice. As nurses provide care to a multitude of patients with acute and chronic illnesses, issues arise that require the ability to reason and think critically to determine a course of action. Computerized clinical simulation is an innovative approach to teaching and learning decision-making skills. This approach offers a realistic stimulation of the decision-making process used in the management of patients in an interactive format that mimics the constantly changing healthcare situation. It provides endless opportunities for an authentic assessment of what the nurse encounters in real-life situations. This article provides a description of software development designed to provide repeated opportunities to practice decision-making skills. The intricacies of designing challenging and relevant clinical simulations and a sample case simulation will be addressed.

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Journal for Nurses in Professional Development

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