Task analysis is a detailed examination of the knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSAs) that are essential to job performance and an important first step in the process of developing learning outcomes for simulation-based training. QSEN offered a detailed list of KSAs that are critical to the nursing profession. We used this information to design learning activities and simulation events that would elicit such KSAs from students. This strategy describes a planning process which has helped our nursing faculty share ideas and craft scenarios best suited to the needs of their students.
First, QSEN competencies were associated with examples of learning activities and events that might occur before, during and after simulation scenarios (see Summary). For instructors new to simulation, the summary offered a preview of possible learning outcomes and in some cases, inspiration to engage in the process. It also led to discoveries which are likely to influence our future plans for simulation scenarios. For example, we noted that KSAs related to Quality Improvement had been overlooked. In addition, we identified a need for more advanced communication challenges such as the need to consider boundaries of therapeutic relationships, barriers to active patient involvement and conflict resolution.
Next, we examined key elements of our existing simulation scenarios, in relation to QSEN competencies. Five simulation scenarios serving first-year students in medical-surgical settings have been analyzed using this framework (see Table). From this analysis, we identified core features that were emphasized in every simulation, along with special features that made each scenario unique. We expect to adopt a similar approach to planning scenarios as our simulation program expands to meet the needs of more advanced students and nursing specialty courses.