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Staff Nurses Hospital

Staff Nurses Hospital

This article outlines a simulation project developed and implemented by staff nurses at a specialty rehabilitation hospital. The project was designed to educate nurses on proper care, protocol, and policy when caring for patients post laminectomy and spinal cord untethering surgery.Staff Nurses Hospital Example Paper

This surgery is unique to patients with spinal cord injury and this center is one of a few in the country that perform it; because of the complicated nature of the surgery, these patients are highly acute and may present with specific complications that need to be addressed for positive patient outcomes.

While simulation technology is not new to nursing education it is new to this facility. By tapping into the experience of staff nurses, who parlayed their knowledge and expertise of caring for patients after this unique surgery, an involved 30 minute scenario was developed.

The scenario emphasized some common and also unusual patient presentations post surgery and required the participating nurse to follow policy and protocol in order to successfully care for the patient. Once the scenario was developed it was implemented as a teaching exercise for new graduate nurses.

This process allowed experienced staff nurses to facilitate new graduate learning in a safe, non-threatening environment. After the exercise a debriefing session was held providing feedback from the participants about the experience. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive with the new graduate nurses reporting an increased confidence in taking care of these patients post surgically because of an increased knowledge of policy, protocol, and standard of care related to this surgery.


Simulation education is becoming a routine teaching strategy for undergraduate nursing students, but is not yet used routinely in the clinical arena for practicing nurses. Effective for teaching nursing students new skills as well as enhancing their decision making ability (Baldwin, 2007), simulation is slowly being integrated into clinical practice for the purpose of demonstrating competency and enhancing safe patient care (Decker, Sportsman, Puetz and Billings, 2008; Anderson and Leflore, 2008).Staff Nurses Hospital Example Paper

Our world renowned rehabilitation hospital is exclusively dedicated to the specialty rehabilitation and research for patients with spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. As one of the leaders in spinal cord injury care, our nurses often care for patients after unique spinal cord specific surgeries including laminectomy and spinal cord untethering.

Due to the unique nature of these surgeries, post operative care of these patients is not part of a standard undergraduate nursing curriculum. As a result, many of our new graduate nurses learn “on the job” about seemingly inconsequential findings that may prove fatal in the spinal cord population undergoing this unique surgery.

Learning under duress in a situation in which mistakes may be critical to a patient’s outcome is neither ideal nor in the best interest of patient safety (Long, 2005). Simulation education offers an ideal teaching strategy for high-risk/low volume events for which new graduate nurses lack experience (Anderson & Leflore, 2008). Outcomes of simulation education with nursing students are speculated to include knowledge acquisition, skill performance, increasing confidence and enhanced critical thinking (Jeffries, 2006).