A simulation scenario is an artificial representation of a real-world event to achieve educational goals through experiential learning. Designing an effective simulation scenario requires careful planning and can be broken into several steps. Simulation scenarios are designed to assess, educate, and help learners to self-identify gaps in their understanding of material or application of knowledge. Simulation may also be used to address patient safety issues, clinical cases, teamwork opportunities, communication challenges, procedural competencies, and leadership skills. Designing an effective scenario requires planning, including knowledge of the target learners, goals and objectives, intended outcomes, and context. Knowledge of educational principles, including Bloom's Taxonomy, which describes the progression from novice to expert, helps develop educational goals. Scenario design must also include consideration of the level of fidelity, use of props, moulage, embedded participants, simulators, and standardized patients. All simulation scenarios should be designed to address a perceived knowledge or performance gap. The finished scenario should take place out in a safe and nonjudgemental setting.
Simulation design is viewable as a professional stage production. A well-designed scenario includes a script with instructor document, simulation tech document and supply, and equipment needs. The director/writers are the faculty; production staff includes education specialists, simulation technicians, and visual effects (moulage). The audience is the learners. Simulation scenario templates or storyboarding should serve as a tool in designing simulation scenarios. Simulation scenarios used for assessment should be at a level that the learners should perform well. The designs of scenarios for educational purposes should be at a more challenging level, to provide for growth.
Writing a Simulation Scenario
The scenario must be approached systemically, including intended outcomes, context, and goals/objectives. When constructing a simulation scenario, begin by identifying the learners, followed by the desired outcomes; this must include the knowledge and behaviors the learner is to acquire after participation in the simulation. After the outcomes have been set, determine the context, including the type of case/patient, fidelity, equipment, and supplies. Then construct goals and objectives. Identifying the relevant teaching points the learners should acquire and remember. Goals are what you want the learners to learn. Objectives are what you expect the learner to be able to do at the end of the simulation. Use the SMART template to construct specific goals and objectives.
Multiple steps need to be addressed to construct a successful simulation.
Preparation includes the case, case stem, flow, role and scripts, resources, pre-briefing, debriefing, and dry run.
The ultimate goal of experiential learning through simulation is to improve clinical practice and patient safety. Several studies have analyzed the outcome and benefit of simulation in healthcare, including improved teamwork, procedural skills, leadership, communication, and clinical outcomes.
A successful scenario must be clean and concise, including:
Additional steps for scenarios:
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