During semester five at the College of Nursing at Brigham Young University, nursing students learn about psychiatric nursing and participate in simulations that help expose them to various concepts within psychiatric nursing. This semester, the professors of psychiatric nursing created two new simulations for the students.
The first new simulation is designed to simulate PTSD in a non-psychiatric unit. While most nurses will not work as psychiatric nurse, all nurses will encounter psychiatric illnesses and problems in their respective units. The simulation takes place in a medical-surgical unit after the patient has been involved in a traumatic event like a car crash. It is done in two parts, with the first part taking place shortly after receiving the patient in the ICU. The second part takes place three and a half days after the traumatic event as the patient is preparing to be discharged and focuses on discharge education for both the patient's physical injuries and potential psychological distress.
The second new simulation is a teamwork simulation that focuses on taking care of multiple patients in an inpatient psychiatric unit setting. The simulation includes four nursing students taking care of four patients with various psychiatric illnesses. The simulation tests prioritizing, safety, and communication, crucial skills for not only psychiatric nurses but for all nurses.
Assistant teaching professor Brandon Thatcher helped design both of the new simulations. When asked about the motivation behind adding these new simulations, Thatcher replied, "We want the students to get a variety of experiences with psychiatric nursing, because they're gonna all have to deal with psychiatric illness and they all need to know how to navigate these conversations with people." Ultimately, Thatcher and his fellow professors want all students to be comfortable with psychiatric nursing in all settings.
Based on student feedback, the simulations will continue to be revamped and improved for future semesters. We are so grateful to belong to a college that continues to innovate and improve their education techniques for the betterment of the nursing field!