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Calling NP Educators: Introducing Simulation Guidelines and Best Practices for Nurse Practitioner Programs

Jaclyn Conelius, PhD, FNP-BC, CHSE, FHRS, FNAP, Fairfield University; Mary Beth Bigley, DrPH, APRN, FAAN, National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties; and Tonya Schneidereith, PhD, CRNP, CNE, CHSE-A, ANEF, FAAN, University of Maryland

In May 2020, the inaugural Simulation Guidelines and Best Practices for Nurse Practitioner Programs were released by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF). Compiled and edited by NONPF simulation experts, this document provides essential guidance for nurse practitioner (NP) faculty seeking to create excellence in simulation-based learning experiences. It is structured to advance NP education by standardizing the science and best practices of simulation and provides vital resources for the implementation of simulation activities. Its seven elements offer direction on major aspects of simulation: theories, frameworks, and strategies; curricular integration; essentials of simulation; design; evaluation; faculty development; and research.

NP faculty are at the forefront of preparing a qualified and competent workforce to meet the needs of an ever-changing health care delivery system. Not only are technologies advancing rapidly, but the health care needs of our nation are increasingly more complex. These factors challenge the traditional didactic and clinical NP educational models (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2015). Growing enrollment, clinical site restrictions, and limited numbers of quality clinical preceptors require the re-envisioning of NP clinical education (Anderson et al., 2019; Aronowitz et al., 2017; Giddens et al., 2014; LeFlore & Thomas, 2016). In recognition of all these educational challenges, the NONPF offers support to faculty through the release of these new simulation guidelines and best practices. 

At the start of this project, as we took on the task of developing guidelines and best practices, we had no idea that a pandemic was coming, nor that nursing education would be unable to gain precious clinical hours in traditional settings. The quarantine has shown the need to design new ways to meet clinical competencies. Well-designed, structured simulations offer consistent, measurable educational opportunities and clinical experiences that allow learners to function in the NP role. Such experiences may not be achievable in clinical settings (Coppa et al., 2019; Gore & Thomson, 2016; Guido-Sanz et al., 2019; Kelly et al., 2019; LaManna et al., 2019; Parsons et al., 2019; Schneidereith & Daniels, 2019).

We are immensely proud of this document, and it is our hope that it helps ground simulation experiences to enhance your teaching and learning practices. The guidelines are available now on the NONPF website, along with other peer-reviewed resources in our simulation portal. What are you waiting for? Download your copy today (!


American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2015, March 2015). Re-envisioning the clinical education of advanced practice registered nurses [White Paper].

Anderson, M., Campbell, S. H., Nye, C., Diaz, D., & Boyd, T. (2019). Simulation in advanced practice education: Let’s dialogue!! Clinical Simulation In Nursing, 26, 81-85.

Aronowitz, T., Aronowitz, S., Mardin-Small, J., & Kim, B. (2017). Using objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) as education in advanced practice registered nursing education. Journal of Professional Nursing, 33(2), 119-125.

Coppa, D., Schneidereith, T., & Farina, C. L. (2019). Simulated home-based health care scenarios for nurse practitioner students. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 26, 38-43.

Giddens, J. F., Lauzon-Clabo, L., Morton, P. G., Jeffries, P., McQuade-Jones, B., & Ryan, S. (2014). Re-envisioning clinical education for nurse practitioner programs: Themes from a national leaders’ dialogue. Journal of Professional Nursing, 30(3), 273-278.

Gore, T., & Thomson, W. (2016). Use of simulation in undergraduate and graduate education. AACN Advanced Critical Care, 27(1), 86-95.

Guido-Sanz, F., Díaz, D. A., Anderson, M., Gonzalez, L., & Houston, A. (2019). Role transition and communication in graduate education: The process. Clinical Simulation In Nursing, 26, 11-17.

Kelly, M. M., Blunt, E., & Nestor, K. (2019). After-hours/on-call simulation in primary care nurse practitioner education. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 26, 49-53.

LaManna, J. B., Guido-Sanz, F., Anderson, M., Chase, S. K., Weiss, J. A., & Blackwell, C. W. (2019). Teaching diagnostic reasoning to advanced practice nurses: Positives and negatives. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 26, 24-31.

LeFlore, J. L., & Thomas, P. E. (2016). Educational changes to support advanced practice nursing education. The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing, 30(3), 187-190.

Lioce, L., Conelius, J., Brown, K., Schneidereith, T., Nye, C., . . . Bigley, M. (Eds.). (2020). Simulation guidelines and best practices for Nurse Practitioner programs. National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties.

Parsons, S. M., Kuszajewski, M. L., Merritt, D. R., & Muckler, V. C. (2019). High-fidelity simualtion training for Nurse Anesthetists managing malignant hyperthermia: A quality improvement project. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 26, 72-80.

Schneidereith, T., & Daniels, A. (2019). Integration of simulation to prepare adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners. Clinical Simulation In Nursing, 26, 18-23.

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