Peer Tutor Support of Diverse Learning Styles for Pre-Licensure Nursing Students in a Simulation Center Environment

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Caitlin Michele Camp
School of Nursing, Chamberlain College of Nursing, Cleveland, OH, USA

Pre-licensure BSN students show a preference for multiple learning styles. The SIMCARE Center, simulation lab offers students the opportunity to learn based off of their own learning styles. This is facilitated by peer tutoring using visual aids, simulation, and matching activities.

                Pre-licensure BSN students at Chamberlain College of Nursing have the opportunity to identify their learning styles. These learning styles include visual, auditory, reading, and kinesthetic (Fleming & Baume, 2006). Visual learners prefer observation, PowerPoint presentations, or graphics to enhance learning while aural learners prefer to listen, discuss, and participate in study groups (Blevins 2014). Reading learners prefer textbooks, essays, and manuals while kinesthetic learners prefer to be hands-on, participate in role playing, and manipulate equipment. Students who work as a team can incorporate all three learning styles in simulation. Learning can be acquired through discussion during pre and post conference and watching or role playing during the simulation. Peer tutors can assist with this process by being an active team member. This can include, but not limited to assisting in the simulation room, enhancing their knowledge of the simulation topic pre and post, and providing evaluations to enhance further simulations. Multiple activities created by peer tutors have been implemented in addition to simulation to support learning styles such as handouts, matching activities, and hands-on assessments. It is the job of a peer tutor to reinforce the material in a way that supports each learning style.

                According to Benner (1982), there are five different levels of proficiency in nursing. The novice nurse is the beginning level of proficiency during which he or she has no experience in tasks they are expected to perform. The second level of nursing is the advanced beginner who is acceptable in the tasks he or she is expected to perform. The competent nurse is the third level of proficiency in which he or she worked for two to three years and has been able to set long-term goals for themselves. The proficient nurse is the fourth level where more perspectives come into play and less labored decision making occurs. The last level of proficiency in nursing is the expert who has a large background and is able to care out duties with intuition. When Chamberlain College of Nursing pre-licensure students assist in simulation, they are also starting as novice nurses. Simulation gives students the ability to role play as registered nurses and act out multiple scenarios before going into the clinical setting. Novice nursing in the SIMCARE Center gives students background knowledge before being hired which can put them ahead of any other school who does not participate in simulation. 

                Unsolicited student comments suggest a majority of pre-licensure students prefer hands-on learning. Survey results confirm increased student satisfaction following kinesthetic, or hands on learning as compared to lecture alone. Inter-professional Education (IPE) is integrated into the SIMCARE Center approach and supports students in collaborative practice. IPE enables students to work in teams, ensure consistency with care for patients, and generate new roles (Barr 1988).

                Identifying how each pre-licensure student at Chamberlain College of Nursing learns to improve student success. Peer tutoring is important to these students because it provides them with positive reinforcement of material learned in class while also supporting their individual learning style.