Enhancing Graduate Nurses’ Health Assessment Knowledge and Skills Using Low-fidelity Adult Human Simulation

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Purpose:Although simulation technology in nursing education is becoming increasingly commonplace, a review of the literature reveals a paucity of rigorous, high-level research comparing the effectiveness of simulation with other traditional education methods in the acquisition of clinical knowledge and skills. This research aimed to investigate the impact of three learning interventions on graduate nurse health assessment knowledge and skills. It was hypothesized that the patient assessment skills of graduate nurses who completed a simulation learning activity would be superior to those who completed traditional education activities.Methods:Graduate nurses (n = 74) were randomly allocated to three groups (1: self-directed learning package [SDLP] only; 2: SDLP plus two scenario-based PowerPoint workshops; and 3: SDLP plus two simulation education sessions using a manikin with low-fidelity capabilities. Following the education activities, graduates completed an individual test involving a systematic patient assessment upon a manikin. They were scored using a checklist of relevant responses.Results:Analysis of variance results suggest that the mean test score for nurses in the simulation group (mean = 135.52, SD = 26.63) was significantly higher (P < 0.001) than those in the learning package group (mean = 107.42, SD = 29.82) and the PowerPoint group (mean = 102.77, SD = 31.68).Conclusions:Simulation appears to be an effective educational tool for teaching patient assessment knowledge and skills to graduate nurses. Incorporation of such technology into graduate nurse education may decrease the time required to become clinically proficient, resulting in more confident and work-ready practitioners.

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