Beginning baccalaureate nursing students (BSNs) are known to be apprehensive the first time they are required to provide patient care within a hospital setting. This study assesses the effect of simulation as an initial clinical experience on nursing students' anxiety levels.
Junior-level BSN students enrolled in the fundamentals and health assessment courses at a southeastern university were assigned randomly to two groups: preclinical simulation experience (intervention) and no simulation experience prior to human patient contact. Anxiety levels were compared between the groups. The intervention was a mock hospital unit simulation in the learning resource center, which allowed each student to care for a simulated patient for 4 hours. A patient problem was incorporated into each scenario. The outcome measure was the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.
The experimental group's anxiety scores were significantly lower (p = .01) than the control group's scores (11.0 ± 2.8 vs. 13 ± 3.4).
These findings demonstrate the value of a simulation experience to reduce anxiety levels among junior-level nursing students.
KeyWords: simulation; anxiety measurement; initial clinical experience; mock hospital unit simulation; junior baccalaureate nursing students