Relationship Between Evidence-Based Simulation and Empowerment of Critical Thinking Skills in Senior Nursing Students

Tuesday, 14 July 2009: 10:30 AM

Francisca J. Farrar, EdD, MSN
Grace Moodt, MSN
Faye Zeigler, MSN
Danielle White, MSN
Debbie Ellison, MSN
School of Nursing, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN

Learning Objective 1: Recognize how simulation can promote critical thinking skills in nursing students thereby improving their academic performance.

Learning Objective 2: Describe the impact of the integration of simulation into nursing curriculum as an evidence-based practice model on global nursing education.

Purpose:  Nursing faculty encountered a challenge when students had difficulty mastering respiratory and cardiac content.  Thirty three of the fifty students (86%) failed Exam I which covered respiratory content, and 24 of the fifty students (48%) failed Exam 2 which covered cardiovascular content. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the use of remediation simulation and students’ mastery of cardiovascular and respiratory content.
Methods: A descriptive correlational design was used for this study. Students were interviewed to determine causative factors for the high number of course failures.  Common themes identified were 1) inability to master critical thinking skills, 2) students reported they knew the content but could not apply this knowledge to application questions; 3) all students reported the need for remediation to help them bridge this gap.   Faculty searched the literature and best practices to help them develop a remediation plan to help the students master the content.  The literature and research pointed out that simulation was a valid teaching modality that is correlated with empowering critical thinking skills and mastery of clinical skills.   A thirty hour remediation simulation program was developed.   Students who volunteered for the remediation program where required to sign a contract of commitment.    Students that completed all requirements on the contract were allowed to retest.  The new exam grade replaced the first exam grade. 
Results:  Analysis of data reveals that remediation with simulation did increase student scores.  In Exam 1 the 86% failure rate was decreased to 22% failure rate with remediation simulation.  In Exam 2 the 48% failure rate was decreased to 16% failure rate. 
Conclusion: Faculty concluded that simulation is a valid teaching strategy to be integrated into nursing curriculum, and is a valuable remediation tool that helps empower nursing students’ critical thinking skills.Simulation can impact global nursing education.