Paula M. Muehlbauer, RN, MSN, AOCNS®

Paula M. Muehlbauer, RN, MSN, AOCNS®n

As the range of diagnoses on medical-surgical units becomes more complex, nurses staffing those units need consistent training to handle the diverse patients they see on a daily basis.

“It’s becoming more common to have a mixed population versus a straight oncology unit,” Paula M. Muehlbauer, RN, MSN, AOCNS®, a clinical nurse specialist for VA San Diego Healthcare System and academic educator for San Diego State University in California, said. “As oncology experts, we need to help non-oncology nurses gain more experience with chemotherapy administration and care of patients with cancer, and a simulator is one way to do it.”

Muehlbauer presented her experiences with simulation instruction in “The Use of Simulation in Chemotherapy Education and Competency Measurement” on Saturday, May 5, 2012, as part of the ONS 37th Annual Congress in New Orleans, LA. The session explored the use of a high-fidelity simulator in training and competency measures.

“At the VA San Diego Healthcare System, because there was an inconsistent population of inpatients receiving chemotherapy, it was difficult to sign chemotherapy competent nurses off on the annual chemotherapy competency,” Muehlbauer explained. “The simulator was a way to use a standard, common chemotherapy regimen on the med-surg unit where chemotherapy recipients board.”

The simulator requires several steps.

  • Prep work by instructors and participants
  • Presimulation briefing and review of prep work
  • Actual simulation with a high-fidelity simulator
  • Postsimulation debriefing

“The debriefing is as important as the simulation for learning,” Muehlbauer added. “Not everyone passed the first time.”

The session proved to be an interesting one for attendees with little experience with simulators. “This is real!” Muehlbauer said. “We used a high-fidelity simulator, which was great. He could talk, have rigors, gag and wretch, etc.”

The complete recording of this and other ONS 37th Annual Congress sessions will be available by early June. Learn more or prepurchase the recordings. A total of 66.75 CNE credits can be earned through the conference recordings. ONS is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.