JoAnne Gatti-Petito, DNP
Nursing students’ perception of caring before and after simulation in nursing education.
Nursing students learn caring skills, clinical competence and confidence as they progress through their education. Students develop critical thinking and caring skills as they experience a variety of clinical situations through case studies, high-fidelity simulation experiences and actual patient care. The concept of virtual caring was explored as a link between the technology associated with high-fidelity simulation learning and the art of caring. Studies that evaluate student nurses’ performance, define and measure caring as well as studies exploring the benefits of simulation experiences into nursing education were reviewed and used to define the concept of virtual caring. The purpose of this study was to describe and measure nursing students’ perceptions of caring before and after simulation experiences with high-fidelity human patient simulators, and evaluate how they change. A pre and post survey using the Caring Dimensions Inventory (CDI) was used with a standardized National League for Nursing simulation scenario. Ninety-four students from Baccalaureate and Masters pre-licensure nursing programs participated in the simulation experience, and 89 paired pre and post-simulation surveys were analyzed. Results of the study indicated that there was a significant change (p<.001) in nursing students’ perceptions of caring. On the post-simulation survey students were more likely to strongly agree with those CDI items that represented the technical and professional aspects of caring. Consistent with the original research the younger Baccalaureate students had a greater change in their overall perceptions of caring, having more post-simulation agreement with the CDI items associated with both psychosocial and technical aspects of caring than graduate students. An additional noteworthy finding was that there was no significance in changes in perceptions of caring based on the students’ active or passive role in the simulation experience. Findings of this study add to the body of research regarding the impact and effectiveness of HPS learning. Future research opportunities include larger studies using a variety of standardized simulation scenarios, studies conducted in a variety of educational settings including the associate degree setting and studies comparing the efficacy of utilizing medium-fidelity versus high-fidelity patient simulators.