Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Baccalaureate nursing students' perceptions of simulation and the development of clinical judgment
by Roy, Linda, Ph.D., Widener University, 2014, 235; 3701069
Abstract (Summary)

Simulation as a learning activity is widely used in nursing education as an adjunct to clinical experience to allow students to make clinical decisions in a safe, non-threatening environment. Yet, little evidence exists as to how students perceive the simulation learning experience. Therefore, the purposes of this study were to describe nursing students' perceptions of simulation and how simulation influenced their development of clinical judgment.

The research questions guiding this qualitative descriptive methodology were: "What are nursing students' perceptions of simulation?" and "How does simulation influence the development of clinical judgment?" Thirty-four junior and senior baccalaureate nursing students from four universities in southeastern Pennsylvania participated in one of seven focus groups. Focus group transcripts were reviewed line by line identifying common words that lead to descriptive threads to the development of descriptive categories. Member checks were completed at the end of each focus group to assure trustworthiness of the data. An audit trail and field notes helped to assure confirmability of the data. The researcher's biases were bracketed to prevent biases from impacting the study findings.

Three descriptive categories and related sub-categories resulted from the data related to students' perceptions of simulation. They included: learning and practicing clinical skills, affecting self-perceptions, and learning from others. Students did not feel that they participated in clinical judgment, therefore, the second research question was not answered. However, they perceived that simulation contributed to their confidence allowing them to apply knowledge in context which contributed to their ability to make decisions in the clinical area. These perspectives lead to the category of bridging the gap between theory and practice.

Student perceptions of simulation provided important data to faculty to help make simulation realistic and meaningful to students. Feedback is important to students and they learn the most during simulation when faculty are present and talk them through the scenario. Findings also offered continual emphasis on the importance of reflection; students perceived reflection as a significant part of the debriefing process following simulation and contributed to learning.

An unexpected finding was the self-perception of feeling awkward during simulation that has the potential to affect learning outcomes. This is a new finding that contributes to the simulation literature.

Limitations of the study and methodological issues are described. In addition, suggestions for future research are provided to support the complex nature of simulation and the variety of ways nursing education can incorporate simulation based on how students perceive its use as a learning strategy.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Baumberger-Henry, Mary
Commitee: Klein, G. Jean, Krouse, Anne M.
School: Widener University
Department: Nursing
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-B 76/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Nursing, Health education
Keywords: Clinical judgment, Nursing students, Simulation, Student perceptions
Publication Number: 3701069
ISBN: 978-1-321-71489-0
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