The perceived benefits of structured simulation sessions on the development of critical thinking for nursing students.

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Nichols, Rebecca
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Nursing
Eastern Institute of Technology
Crawford, Ruth
Munday, Karen
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
nursing students
simulation-based learning
critical thinking
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Nichols, R. (2017). The perceived benefits of structured simulation sessions on the development of critical thinking for nursing students. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Nursing). Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), New Zealand.
BACKGROUND The education of New Zealand (NZ) nurses has changed rapidly over the last four decades to address the changing role of the New Zealand registered nurse (RN). One of the most significant changes in nursing education is the use of high fidelity simulation in clinical education Structured simulation is an innovative, interactive teaching methodology that can be used as a clinical adjunct to support critical thinking and confidence in nursing students and new graduates. This study was undertaken to investigate whether structured simulation sessions support the development and application of critical thinking skills from the perspective of year two undergraduate nursing students. METHOD A quantitative descriptive study was undertaken for this research. Twenty-five year two students completed an online questionnaire following participation in structured simulation sessions and a three-week clinical placement. Data were analysed thematically using the survey questionnaire tool SurveyMonkey™ and using Thomas’s (2006) inductive reasoning approach. RESULTS The students perceived structured simulation sessions were beneficial in the development of critical thinking; simulation improved their confidence levels and enabled them to apply these skills in the clinical environment. Students need to learn in a safe, supportive, non-judgemental environment. The simulation environment and level of realism is key to reducing student anxiety and maximising the level of engagement and learning for the student. The debriefing component was the most valued aspect of simulation where much of the consolidation of learning, critical thinking and confidence development occurred. CONCLUSION This study supports the role that simulation has in developing critical thinking skills and improving confidence in undergraduate nursing students and provides evidence that simulation is a valuable tool for students to practise nursing skills and apply nursing theory into clinical practice. It is recommended that simulation be embedded into undergraduate nursing programmes to support the development of critical thinking and the application of theory to practise. The structure and delivery of the simulation is crucial to optimise student engagement and learning.
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