In March 2020, COVID-19 forced university students around the country to quarantine at home and learn online. That was a disaster for healthcare students who could no longer practice in clinics and earn the hours required to graduate. Faculty at the University of Colorado College of Nursing had to pivot. They expanded simulation training for students to practice with lifelike mannequins, virtual reality, task trainers, and other methods to complete their clinical rotations and earn their degrees.
About Our Expert
Fara Bowler, DNP, APRN, CHSE
Dr. Bowler is the Director of the Clinical Education Center and Simulation for the University of Colorado College of Nursing. She speaks nationally on the use of simulation to promote quality and safety in care delivery.
Dr. Bowler along with colleagues at CU Nursing have been involved in a SAMSA grant focusing on the integration of SBIRT (Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment) into curricula incorporating high fidelity simulation. Recently, she was the section editor for AACN Advanced Critical Care on the topic of simulation.
She holds national certification as an Adult Nurse Practitioner with the AANP. Most recently, she achieved certification as a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator with Society of Simulation in Healthcare.
As a result, CU Nursing was the first and only department on the Anschutz Medical Campus to return to in-person learning during the pandemic.
The high-quality simulation education was a success. The director of the Clinical Education Center and Simulation says the students graduated with the same state board exam pass rates as previous graduating classes. A study by the National Council State Board of Nursing also found simulation learning was equal, if not better, than learning in some clinical situations.
We spoke with Fara Bowler, DNP, APRN, CHSE, and Director of the Experiential Learning Team about the decision to expand simulation during the pandemic and their plans for the future.