Adding Up to Patient Safety: Utilizing Simulation as an Educational Strategy to Enhance Dosage Calculation Skills in Fundamental Level Nursing Students

Monday, 22 July 2013: 1:50 PM

Jaclynn S. Huse, PhD, RN, CNE
School of Nursing, Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, TN

Learning Objective 1: The learner will investigate the utilization of simulation as a teaching strategy to increase the accuracy of dosage calculation skills in fundamental nursing students.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will explore the effectiveness of an innovative evaluation strategy that encourages students to think beyond obtaining a dosage calculation result.

Purpose:  The purpose of this 2012 study was to determine the effectiveness of implementing Polya’s Four Phases of Problem-Solving into simulation in order to evaluate mean dosage calculation test scores and self-perceived judgment in dosage calculation skills in fundamental nursing students. In addition, levels of satisfaction, self-confidence in learning, best educational practices, and satisfaction with the simulation design were measured utilizing the NLN 5-point Likert scaled tools.

Methods:  A quantitative pre-test/post-test design was utilized to measure the effectiveness of high-fidelity simulation on an intact group of fundamental AS level nursing students (n = 77). 

Results:  Results revealed that fundamental students performed significantly better on the post-test (m = 8.77, sd = 0.83) than the pre-test (m = 6.60, sd = 19.4) after attending a simulation experiment (t(76) = -10.561, p < .000). Dosage calculation items that were perceived to be highly illogical-neutral were more likely to be incorrect, however, these items were significantly improved by the post-test. Students were satisfied with the simulation experience (m = 4.55, sd = 0.531) and felt confident that they were learning skills needed to perform safely in a clinical setting (m = 4.32, sd = 0.520). Students agreed that the educational best practices of active learning, collaboration, diverse ways of learning, and high expectations (m = 4.26, sd = 0.596) were met. Evaluation of the simulation design revealed that students agreed that objectives and information were clearly given and met, they felt supported during the learning process, problem-solving skills were enhanced, feedback and guided reflection aided in the learning process, and the scenario resembled real life (m = 4.41, sd = 0.513).

Conclusion: Students were able to significantly increase their dosage calculation scores in a learning environment that they found to be satisfying, realistic, and beneficial to the development of problem-solving and judgment skills.