How to Use Simulation Labs in Nursing Education


Many nursing schools use simulation labs to help students understand how to accomplish nursing processes like drawing blood and taking blood pressure. These labs often involve mannequins, computer software and hospital software. Simulations offer the benefit of practice without the risk of harming a patient. Simulation labs do not take the place of traditional nursing education. Students still need to listen to lectures, observe nurses in their natural environment and read nursing text books.

  • Teach students the principles underlying the lab. Assign reading from course text books that relates to the simulation lab. Explain the relevant principles, such as taking blood, in depth. Answer all student questions.

  • Explain the lab to students. If the lab includes a mannequin, explain how students should treat the mannequin. Should they act as if the doll is a child or an adult? If the simulation uses computer software, explain how the software works. How do you chose options or continue?

  • Familiarize students with the tools they use during the lab. Allow them to examine the equipment and to perform a few basic tasks using the equipment.

  • Guide students through the lab. Do not tell them exactly what to do. Instead, sit back and allow students to accomplish the lab yourself but remain available for answering questions.

  • Continue the process of teaching principles and explaining labs.

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  • Photo Credit operation nurse image by Andrey Rakhmatullin from
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