School of Nursing graduates prepare future nurses for realistic scenarios

simulation learningMaster's-degree alumni Charlie Dharmasukrit, left, and Laura Corson team up for a pilot study to better prepare new nurses for realistic scenarios.

Student nurses must demonstrate what they learn in the classroom to pass licensing exams and enter the workforce. But the realities they face in an acute-care setting often push their education to the limit. Two master’s-degree leadership alumni at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing hope to change that with a novel approach to clinical simulation.

In preparing for their Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership degrees, Charlie Dharmasukrit and Laura Corson developed a pilot study to address the gap between classroom instruction and clinical realities. Unlike what is traditionally taught in nursing schools, where students face one individual in an acute-care simulation, Dharmasukrit and Corson created a three-person scenario.

“We modified scenarios from National League for Nursing repository,” explained Dharmasukrit, a recent master’s-degree alumni and who, this fall, begins pursuit of a doctoral degree at the School of Nursing. “In designing the simulation, we took principles from nursing 301 – that taught us how to go about creating a matrix with triggers that prompt a student’s cause and effect.”

The Institute of Medicine recommends that nursing competencies move from task-based proficiencies to higher level skills that provide a foundation for care management, knowledge and decision-making skills under a variety of clinical and care settings. Recent nursing graduates report feeling challenged when exposed to caring for and prioritizing the needs of multiple people. Dharmasukrit and Corson conducted a pilot study, also the basis for their master’s theses, which examined student nurses’ perceptions of ability and confidence in multiple-person simulations. The simulations required nursing students to critically think, problem solve and prioritize issues related to encountering more than one person in real time.

Master’s-degree leadership alumnus Charlie Dharmasukrit discusses his master’s thesis


Master’s-degree leadership alumnus Charlie Dharmasukrit, along with a fellow student, developed a novel simulation project in hopes of better preparing student nurses for real world scenarios.

“The beauty of simulation is that you’re creating fidelity in a safe environment,” Dharmasukrit said. “This new approach, increasing the fidelity in simulation of what students will find in the real world, helped them improve the perception of their readiness.”

The team discovered that students’ perceived level of confidence was higher going in to a simulation, then dipped once they experienced their ability to care in terms of assessment, diagnosis, implementation and evaluation. The team hopes their pilot study might one day be incorporated into new nursing education. Meanwhile, the thesis project, required of all master’s-degree students at the School of Nursing, transformed their perspectives on their careers.

“This creative way of doing research expanded my thought process and showed me what was possible beyond the bedside,” Corson explained. “It gave me confidence to look outside the intensive care unit and explore other professional options.”

After 11 years in acute care, Corson transitions to a learning and performance nurse specialist in the clinical informatics department at NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield, California. Dharmasukrit works as a clinical nurse in the orthopedic trauma unit at UC Davis Medical Center, where he also serves as a facilitator for the New Graduate Nurse Residency Program, helping new graduates successfully transition from nursing school into practice.

“I’ve gained the tools and confidence to change the status quo of health care,” Dharmasukrit said. “I want to be the person who pushes the envelope and educates nurses on the future of the practice.”