Simulated Tasks Boost Nurse Practitioners' Confidence

Low-tech, low-cost props can take the fear out of minor procedures
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Using easily-available, low-tech materials, student nurse practitioners can expand their skills and confidence in performing minor procedures with simulation exercises, according to a report published in the December issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

Elizabeth Blunt, Ph.D., R.N., of Villanova University in Philadelphia, attached an artificial fingernail to half a hot dog, and used a pen or similarly shaped hard object to simulate a finger bone. This prop was then used to enable student nurse practitioners to simulate a repertoire of minor procedures including digital block, subungual hematoma release, paronychia management and toe-nail removal.

The sessions were highly popular with the students, the author notes. They described their sense of accomplishment at having practiced what they had learned in theory before having to do the procedures on real patients, she writes.

"Although many of the students will only apply a portion of the skills they learn in these exercises, they expressed a significant boost in self-confidence, a decrease in anxiety level and a sense of accomplishment in their skills, before being confronted with the procedures in their clinical practice," the author writes. "Additionally, many expressed increased confidence in their ability to carry out these skills before entering into clinical rotations and a competitive health care marketplace."

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