How to Write Nursing Scenarios for Nursing Students

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Nursing students signed on to acquire the skills necessary to help people in various forms of illness, in wellness checkups, for prevention of disease, and in childbirth. Those who supervise or teach nurses during their educational process will typically have countless examples of the various scenarios a student could experience. It saves time and helps everyone if you have some examples of several scenarios written up in a booklet to present during training. Include all ops from ER (emergency room) and burns, to general pediatrics and elder care, and add home health and lab situations as well. All you need to offer is a general sense of what the student will commonly encounter.

Create a document titled "Nursing Scenarios or Scenarios Common to Nursing." Determine the number of scenarios to include, at least six and preferably 10 to 12. You can add to the list or edit it later, but include enough content to provide a wide range of experiences for students.

List an outline of topics to include, such as Blood Draws for Outpatients, Taking Vital Signs on Admitted Seniors, The Cranky Child in OR Prep, Dressing Burns on Teens, First-Time Lesbian Parents, Depressed Blind Singles Who Need Extra Attention, Jaundiced Babies in ICU, Nurse-Midwives in Birth Centers or Working With Hospice in Home Settings. Group the subjects according to ages, cultures, locations or skills. Include ethnic and spiritual elements, and the importance of being informed and sensitive.

Write the scenarios using the who, what, when, where, why format: Who the patients or clients will be. What type of disease, condition, injury or other concern. When scenarios might occur, such as women giving birth in the middle of the night or emergency rooms that are open around the clock. Where the students will find themselves, such as a home, a clinic, a lab, a morgue, a hospital, an office or an emergency vehicle. Why the scenario is of value.

Review the content and see whether other nurse managers or physicians you work with have anything to add or suggestions for improvement. Reread the scenarios and edit, the save them with an effective date and noting departments to note or include.

Add your contact information or that of the appropriate staff member at the nursing school, hospital or other setting. Distribute to students and other staff.


Include just enough detail in each scenario to give students a solid sense of what they will experience. When working with or directly teaching students in each setting, point out the pertinent scenario in advance and discuss it with them. Use your experience to elaborate and point out that not every variation can be included. Teach the students to expect the unexpected and urge them to remain calm and kind. Set a good example in your daily nursing duties, as well as in the scenarios you write


Try to avoid disturbing scenarios. Describe scenes objectively and let students depend on their own observations and experiences.