Utilizing Simulation in Nursing Education
to Develop Confidence and Diminish Anxiety in Clinical Practice
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of simulation-based learning experiences on nursing students’ confidence levels and anxiety levels in clinical practice settings. This study enhanced nursing educational outcomes through the transformative educational intervention of simulation. The convenience sample consisted of 19 nursing students enrolled in a baccalaureate program at a small, rural university in the southern region of the United States. This study explores the influence of simulation on confidence levels in the nursing students’ junior year and anxiety levels in their senior year of a nursing program. It is hypothesized that the use of simulation will increase confidence and decrease anxiety as a student progresses through their educational trajectory.
Confidence levels in the junior nursing students were measured by the Confidence Scale and the National League for Nursing (NLN) Student Satisfaction and Self-Confidence in Learning instrument. The simulation for the junior nursing students mimicked a typical day in the clinical setting of the students’ first semester in the nursing program. The Confidence Scale was administered before and after the simulation experience. The NLN Student Satisfaction and Self-Confidence in Learning instrument was also administered after the simulation experience to provide additional information regarding the students’ confidence.
Studies indicate that nursing students, as well as practicing nurses, experience high levels of anxiety while working with clients diagnosed with mental illness. Therefore, subscales of the Mental Health Nursing Survey Part 1 (MHN-1) and the Mental Health Nursing Survey Part 2 (MHN-2) were utilized to measure the senior nursing students’ anxiety levels before and after a four-hour simulation-based learning experience that introduced them to mental health scenarios and symptoms of mental health illnesses.
Findings from this study underscore the utility of simulation as a means to impact students’ confidence and anxiety as they approach new and different clinical settings; thereby, enhancing their learning experience.
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