Using Simulation to Improve Clinical Confidence in Associate-Degree Nursing Students

Teresa Marie Phillips, Walden University


As clinical sites become harder for smaller nursing programs to locate, nursing students may feel they are not ready to begin providing the type of bedside care needed in hospitals. Because of the lack of clinical sites, it is becoming necessary to utilize high-fidelity simulation as a means to ensure that students are receiving the proper training. The purpose of this case study was to explore nursing students' experiences with and perceptions regarding a high-fidelity simulation experience implemented at a small rural college in the Midwestern United States. Constructivism was designated as the theoretical framework for this study for its emphasis on active participation in the learning process and on scaffolding previous knowledge and skills. Participants were nursing students who were involved in the new simulation experience at the study site. The sample of nursing students ranged in ages from 19-58 years, with 11 of the 12 participants being female. Data were collected through individual interviews and open coded to identify emerging themes. The analysis of the data revealed 3 major themes: reality of high-fidelity simulation, lack of communication regarding the training expectations, and lack of orientation to the high-fidelity simulation. The findings were used to create a professional development for nursing faculty at the study site to improve the implementation of simulation experiences for nursing students. Positive social change implications include providing a resource to the study site that may improve the high-fidelity simulations used to ensure that students are receiving the proper training.