Simulation in nurse education : the students' experience
Nurse education has changed significantly in the last 15 years with the move into Higher Education. With it however teaching clinical skills within the HEI was abandoned and left to the clinical areas. It has been identified that this was to the detriment of the clinical skills competence of the newly qualified practitioner. Recently however there has been development in using simulation education as a teaching, learning and assessment strategy within the HEI. In light of this development this research aims to explore what simulation education means to the student nurse. A mainly qualitative approach was employed through interviews with fourteen students on the Diploma of Higher Education/Bachelor of Science nursing programme (adult) within one HEI using a phenomenological hermeneutic method and Nvivo for data analysis. Methodological triangulation was employed by the student's completion of a semantic differential (SD) questionnaire on their self perception of competence while on clinical placement. The overall findings revealed valuable insights from the students' perspective on implementing simulated education as a teaching, learning and assessment strategy. The student interviews revealed six themes, concept; attitudes; learning better; mistakes; realism and putting into practice. The students in this study enjoyed simulation education and it encouraged them to practise and become competent in the clinical skills that the newly qualified nurses had been shown to be deficient in previously. This led to an increase in confidence and the student's seeking out further skills to practise. The SD questionnaire found that the students were anxious prior to their clinical placement experience, but felt prepared. The recommendations of this study are to implement simulation education within the nursing curriculum in order for the student nurse to gain competence in clinical skills whilst keeping in accordance with the current research literature on this teaching, learning and assessment strategy.