Utilizing simulation curriculum to decentralize mental health concepts


The International Society of Psychiatric Nurses as well as The American Psychiatric Nurses Association called for decentralization of psychiatric concepts in undergraduate nursing education. The author developed a series of simulation scenarios to address therapeutic communication and psychosocial needs in a variety of patient care settings. In terms of holistic care, psychological well-being is relevant to all realms of nursing practice. Mental health assessment and intervention need to be included in all areas of an undergraduate-nursing curriculum. The purpose of this project was to create a BSN curriculum that reflects the mental health needs of patients not only in acute care psychiatric facilities but also in medical-surgical disciplines, maternity units, and community settings. The curriculum is designed to also cover mental health throughout the lifespan-from infancy to end of life. A goal was to develop educational techniques, which translate into safe practice. A series of five simulations have been created with additional scenarios to be established in the following academic year. Topics include: alcohol withdrawal, end of life care, post-traumatic stress disorder, post-partum depression, serotonin syndrome, benzodiazepine over dose, elder abuse, depression in military veterans, and geriatric depression. All incorporate QSEN competencies [1]. The overall learning objectives are for undergraduate nursing students to initiate and implement an appropriate mental status assessment using therapeutic communication, and also to provide safe care by identifying risk factors and using clinical decision making to establish requisite nursing interventions. The methodology included relevant documentation through the use of appropriate assessment tools. Learning objectives were assessed through pre-simulation and post-simulation ten-question inventory and anecdotal feedback. QSEN competencies were utilized in creating scenarios as well as pre and post testing. Students voiced an ability to connect the didactic material to their clinical experiences following simulation.

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Beckford, D. (2013) Utilizing simulation curriculum to decentralize mental health concepts. Open Journal of Nursing, 3, 227-229. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2013.32031.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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