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


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.[1]

  1. © Copyright 2004-2022 Center for Medical Simulation, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. All Rights Reserved – Used with permission.


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Nursing Virtual Case Studies Copyright © 2023 by Adrianna D'Ilio and Amanda Egert is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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