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“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt


  • Describe the issues, challenges, and new opportunities that are evolving around the use of simulation in healthcare.

  • Discuss programmatic changes that may occur in health professions education as the use of simulation pedagogy escalates.

  • Explore how the emerging technologies will be integrated and used in the clinical simulation experiences.

The future is bright for simulation, providing numerous possibilities to enhance clinical education for healthcare providers, improve patient safety, and create safer, more efficient systems of care through process improvement and risk management. Simulation is being used today to teach clinical judgment, problem solving, and decision-making skills. In academic settings, clinical simulations are increasingly substituting for actual clinical hours and creating the opportunity for all learners to experience a set of standardized clinical scenarios that prepare them for complex clinical situations. Educators, leaders, and researchers are identifying best practices when designing and implementing simulations and developing the research that will provide the evidence of value in the future. The technical advances and health policy decisions that are emerging today will help dictate the future of simulation in healthcare.

This chapter discusses how simulation, simulation-based education, and gaming will be used in future courses and curricula; the programmatic changes that may occur within the health professions as simulation-based education continues to escalate; the emerging technologies and how these will be integrated within the simulation environment; the issues, challenges, and new opportunities, such as required certification and accreditation of simulation centers, that are evolving around clinical simulations; and the integration of simulation as a process improvement methodology.

The Use of Simulation, Simulation-Based Education, and Gaming in the Future

While simulation in health professions education is now considered a standard and best practice within the healthcare education paradigm, the technology and variety of simulation offerings continue to expand at a rapid pace. High-fidelity simulators have become synonymous with simulated clinical learning. In recent years, there has been a barrage of sophisticated, multimedia, and virtual educational platforms that allow students to participate in a simulation outside of the traditional education setting. A national study of nursing schools in the US conducted by the National League for Nursing (NLN) and Wolters Kluwer (2016) found that from 2016-2021, virtual reality is expected to have the greatest increase in adoption as a type of simulation. This proliferation of new virtual reality/virtual simulation options is creating its own challenges. For example, given the myriad definitions being used for virtual reality, there is a need for the development of precise definitions of virtual reality and for the adoption of a standardized classification of the levels of virtual reality (Cant, Cooper, Sussex, & Bogassian, 2019; Kardong-Edgren, Farra, Alinier, & Young, 2019).

In screen-based simulation platforms, the learner uses a mouse and keyboard to interact ...

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