The CCNE Standards for Accreditation of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Programs, The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (Baccalaureate Essentials), The Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing (Master’s Essentials), The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing 3 Practice (Doctoral Essentials), and Criteria for Evaluation of Nurse Practitioner Programs (NTF Criteria) do not specify or limit the number of hours of simulation that are acceptable. However, the Essentials documents and the NTF Criteria do offer the following guidance:
“Simulation experiences augment clinical learning and are complementary to direct care opportunities essential to assuming the role of the professional nurse” (Baccalaureate Essentials, p. 34).
“Learning experiences also can occur using simulation designed as a mechanism for verifying early mastery of new levels of practice or designed to create access to data or healthcare situations that are not readily accessible to the student. These experiences may include simulated mass casualty events, simulated database problems, simulated interpersonal communication scenarios, and other new emerging learning technologies. The simulation is an adjunct to the learning that will occur with direct human interface or human learning experience” (Master’s Essentials, p. 30).
“Experiences include in-depth work with experts from nursing as well as other disciplines and provide opportunities for meaningful student engagement within practice environments. Given the intense practice focus of DNP programs, practice experiences are designed to help students build and assimilate knowledge for advanced specialty practice at a high level of complexity. Therefore, end-of-of program practice immersion experiences should be required to provide an opportunity for further synthesis and expansion of the learning developed to that point” (Doctoral Essentials, p. 19).
“There is an expectation that a minimum of 500 direct patient care clinical hours is needed specifically to address NP competencies in the preparation of the NP role and population-focused area” (NTF Criteria, p. 8).
“Direct patient care involves assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and evaluation of a real client/patient- not simulations or lab exercises with trained patient actors” (NTF Criteria, p. 19).
Importantly, CCNE advises programs to check with the appropriate state regulatory agencies and the institution’s accrediting agency to ensure that there are not restrictions/limitations about simulation that might impact the nursing programs.