National League of NursingNational League of Nursing

The Voice of Nursing Education

Unfolding Cases

ACE-Z tryptich


An unfolding case is one that evolves over time in a manner that is unpredictable to the learner. New situations develop and are revealed with each encounter. Each case includes the following:

  • A first-person monologue that introduces the individual or couple and the complex problems to be addressed.
  • Simulation scenarios designed to help students practice assessing function and expectations of their patient(s), with links to appropriate evidence-based assessment tools, including those from the Try This® and How to Try This® Series.
  • An innovative final assignment that asks students to finish the story.
  • An instructor toolkit with suggestions on how to use the various components of the unfolding cases and incorporate them into the curriculum.

These unfolding cases combine the power of storytelling with the experiential nature of simulation scenarios. They are intended to create a robust, meaningful experience for students, one that provides a simulated experience of continuity of care and that will help them integrate the Essential Knowledge Domains and Nursing Actions into their practice of nursing. We hope you will give them a try!