Enhancing Nursing Students' Understanding of Poverty Through Simulation

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Abstract

Objectives

The purposes of this study were (a) to describe the implementation of a poverty simulation, (b) to evaluate its use on nursing students' attitudes about poverty, and (c) to offer lessons learned.

Design and Sample

Using a mixed-method design, a convenience sample of senior undergraduate nursing students (n = 43) from a public university in a mid-Atlantic state participated in a poverty simulation experience. Students assumed the roles of real-life families and were given limited amounts of resources to survive in a simulated community. This simulation took place during a community health practicum clinical day.

Measures

The short form of Attitudes about Poverty and Poor Populations Scale (APPPS) was adapted for this evaluation. This 21-item scale includes factors of personal deficiency, stigma, and structural perspective, which measures a range of diverse attitudes toward poverty and poor people.

Results

The results of this evaluation demonstrated that nursing students viewed the poverty simulation as an effective teaching strategy and actively participated. In particular, nursing students' scores on the factor of stigma of poverty demonstrated statistically significant changes.

Conclusion

With proper planning, organization, and reflection, a poverty simulation experience can be a positive impetus for lifelong learning and civic engagement.

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