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Contributing to Evidence-Based Regulatory Decisions: A Comparison of Traditional Clinical Experience, Mannequin-Based Simulation, and Screen-Based Virtual Simulation

      Background

      Boards of nursing need empirical evidence to guide the regulation of simulation in nursing education and to make decisions about how simulation should count toward required clinical hours.

      Purpose

      The purposes of this study were to (a) compare cognitive learning and patient care performance outcomes between prelicensure nursing students who participated in 4 hours of traditional clinical experience, 2 hours of mannequin-based simulation, or 2 hours of screen-based virtual simulation and (b) examine students’ self-perceptions about the efficacy of each experiential learning activity.

      Methods

      Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: 4 hours of traditional clinical experience, 2 hours of mannequin-based simulation, or 2 hours of screen-based virtual simulation. After completing their first experiential learning activity and posttest assessments, participants completed the two experiential learning activities they were not originally assigned as well as a survey regarding their self-perceptions about the effectiveness of each activity. Learning and patient care performance scores were compared between groups.

      Results

      There was no significant difference in cognitive learning outcomes between groups. On the measure of patient care performance, students who were randomized to the mannequin-based simulation group performed as well as or significantly better than students who were randomized to the other two groups. Overall, students reported that screen-based virtual simulation was the least effective of the three experiential learning activities in meeting their learning needs.

      Conclusion

      Additional research is needed to make the most effective and efficient use of our resources for experiential learning in nursing education.

      Keywords

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