Date of Conferral


Date of Award



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Cheryl Keen


One of the newest teaching modalities in nursing education is the use of human patient simulators (HPS). An HPS simulation scenario creates a software program vignette in which students interact with a manikin to practice caring for critical patients in a risk-free environment. Although used extensively in schools of nursing, there is little research that examines if these expensive simulators improve the clinical decision-making ability of nursing students. The purpose of this experimental differentiated treatment study was to assess if HPS technology leads to increased clinical decision-making ability and clinical performance more than the teaching modality of a paper and pencil case study. Students ( n = 133) from practical nursing programs in Pennsylvania were randomly assigned to one of 2 groups learning about the care of a patient with a myocardial infarction: an HPS simulation group or a paper and pencil case study group. One-tailed, independent t -tests were used to measure pre and post treatment exam and clinical performance scores measuring the care of a patient with a myocardial infarction. Results indicated that there was a statistically significant learning gain from the use of HPS technology compared to the paper and pencil case study ( p < 0.001). Students in the HPS simulation group also performed CPR more quickly than students in the case study group (p < 0.001). The research adds a rare control group study to the literature and confirms previous findings about the effectiveness of HPS technology. Nurse educators can benefit as the results validate the use of HPS technology in nursing education. Ultimately patients may benefit from increased quality and speed of care from practical nurses whose training was improved through the use of HPS technology.