Abstract

In recent years, high-fidelity simulation has played a growing role in nursing education. Few studies have addressed this use, and research using quantitative design is significantly lacking. This paper examines the current research on simulation in nursing education and recommends areas for future study.

Nursing education is constantly evolving as change takes place in health care delivery and as more is learned about knowledge acquisition and the use of technology. In the 1960s, technology changed the way high-risk flight training was taught, with computer-based simulation training gaining favor. In health care profession education, simulation use is often part of high-tech anesthesia or surgical training. Over the last few years, however, high-fidelity simulation (HFS) training using human patient simulators has been playing a larger role as part of teaching programs in nursing schools and continuing education. This type of simulation utilizes a computer-based mannequin, allowing experiential training of skills, knowledge, and decision-making, which builds confidence in a safe environment, transferable to real patient situations.

What makes HFS so useful is its ability to simulate realistic clinical situations and settings with no risk to the safety of patients ([Medley and Horne, 2005] and [Peteani, 2004]). Students can make mistakes without harm and learn by receiving immediate feedback. Scenarios using HFS can be set-up to replicate patient conditions with pulses, heart and lung sounds, vital signs, and echocardiogram waves. The anatomically correct mannequin becomes the patient. This simulator can react physiologically through computer control by the instructor as students interact and intervene. Simulation creates experiential learning, which has been shown to help learners with integration of content that is necessary for safe and effective clinical practice (Medley & Horne, 2005).