Review of Use of Standardized Patients in Psychiatric Nursing Education

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BACKGROUND: Simulations using standardized patients (SPs) are increasingly used to teach and assess competencies in psychiatric/mental health (PMH) nursing education. To advance the field, it is important to identify current knowledge, practice, and evidence. OBJECTIVE: To determine the current knowledge, evidence, and practice of using SPs in PMH nursing education by conducting an integrative review of the empirical research on the use of SPs in PMH nursing education, and by providing a supplementary descriptive review of non-research articles on PMH simulations using SPs. DESIGN: A comprehensive search using electronic databases was conducted to identify both research and simulation description papers meeting inclusion criteria. The research literature was reviewed using an integrative review approach and a simple descriptive review of the non-research simulation literature was also conducted. RESULTS: Six research studies and 18 simulation description articles were included in the review. Although there are several PMH SP simulation descriptions in the literature, and anecdotal indications that they are a valuable educational tool, there is insufficient research evidence regarding their effectiveness as a method in psychiatric nursing education due to few published studies and methodological limitations of existing studies. CONCLUSIONS: Well-designed research studies are needed to develop an evidence base for this promising and increasingly employed teaching method.

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