Case 4: Introduction and Instructions

Care of an Adult Experiencing Post-Operative Complications

Scenario Introduction

The goal of this simulation scenario is to promote clinical reasoning and decision-making in an acute care setting with an adult experiencing postoperative complications. Participants will have an opportunity to assess a client, identify priority problems, and formulate and implement a nursing plan. The scenario provides advanced-level BSN students with an experience working with a client in an acute surgical care setting.


  • Assessment
  • Cognition
  • Communication
  • Decision Making
  • Pain
  • Perfusion
  • Professionalism
  • Safety

Context: Acute surgical unit of a hospital.

Level of Participant: Intermediate or Advanced (Year 3 or 4)

Completion Time: Varied up to 4 hours.

  • Pre-Learning: Varied depending on the knowledge students have prior to engaging in the scenario. Completing all activities in their entirety may take up to 2 hours 45 minutes.
  • Scenario: Allow for about 45 minutes to complete the activity.
  • Reflection: Allow for about 30 minutes to complete the activity.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this scenario, participants will be able to do the following in a virtual case-based scenario:

  1. Identify appropriate assessments and interventions for a post-operative client to determine a prioritized plan of care.
  2. Communicate effectively with an adult and the health care team in an acute care surgical setting to enhance a therapeutic relationship and provide safe, culturally sensitive care.
  3. Identify appropriate nursing actions and clinical judgments related to safe medication administration to reduce the risk of post-operative complications.
  4. Implement a prioritized plan of care for a client experiencing post-operative complications for the purpose of enhancing health outcomes.


  • Complete each section in the order it is presented.
  • After completing the pre-brief and pre-learning, you will find a short scenario to work through with decision-making questions. You can go through the scenario as many times as you would like.
  • After you complete the scenario, work through the post-scenario activities.
  • Your role is to assume all aspects of a practicing nurse’s professional behavior as if caring for a client in the clinical setting. However, work within your scope of practice as a student nurse.
  • Several aspects of the scenario may be limited in realism, and when a gap occurs between simulated reality and actual reality, act according to the goals of the learning session.
  • These scenarios follow what is known as the Basic Assumption of simulation meaning that it is believed that you are intelligent, capable, and want to do your best to improve your skills. © Copyright 2004-2020 Center for Medical Simulation, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. All Rights Reserved – Used with permission.


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Nursing Virtual Case Studies Copyright © by Adrianna D'Ilio, RN, MSN and Amanda Egert, RN, MSN is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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