WASHINGTON, DC—High-fidelity simulation as a teaching modality for a chemotherapy administration practicum is safe and effective, readily accepted, and helps bridge the transition to the clinical environment, according to research presented at the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) 38th Annual Congress.

Noting “errors occurring in the use of chemotherapeutic drugs are potentially catastrophic” and that ONS recommends chemotherapy education comprising didactic learning followed by a practicum, Linda Farjo, RN, BSN, OCN®, of York Hospital, York, PA, described the design and implementation of a chemotherapy administration orientation program for a novice oncology nurse.

Research has demonstrated that use of high-fidelity simulation improves confidence levels and critical thinking skills while ensuring an acceptable safety level for the patient and nurse.

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The practicum comprised two components; high-fidelity simulation was incorporated into part one of the practicum, “with the goal of providing a safe environment to gain the specialized skill set necessary for chemotherapy administration prior to implementation in the clinical setting,” Farjo stated. This included using case scenarios to demonstrate proper dose verification, administration, and adverse event management.

“Skills were taught, practiced, and tested until established competency criteria and a comfort level was achieved,” she added. “Transference and reinforcement of skills occurred in the clinical setting component of the practicum.”

Of the 21 nurses who completed the chemotherapy administration practicum to date, surveys have shown “the outstanding effectiveness of high-fidelity simulation as a teaching modality for chemotherapy administration,” Farjo reported, with 20 (95%) indicating level of achievement in meeting the overall goal of acquiring essential skills was “very good” or “excellent.” In addition, participants reported that HFS was readily accepted and helped to bridge the transition to the clinical environment.

Incorporating high-fidelity simulation represents a “positive change,” Farjo stated, with “strong implications for nursing. It sets the foundation for a positive and effective learning experience that provides the closest possible environment to actual clinical practice without jeopardizing patient safety. Utilization of high-fidelity simulation will continue to provide opportunities for oncology nurses to expand their professional growth.”