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To identify barriers to nurses’ participation in simulation, and to determine whether prior simulation exposure, professional experience, and practice location influence their tendency to perceive specific issues as barriers. We also sought to identify nurses’ educational priorities, and to determine whether these were influenced by years of experience or practice location.We surveyed full-time and part-time nurses in a university-affiliated children’s hospital to gather data on professional demographics, simulation exposure, perceived barriers to participation in simulation, and training priorities.A total of 523 of 936 (56%) eligible nurses completed the survey. Binary logistic regression analysis revealed that “simulation is ’not the real thing’” was selected as a barrier more often by nurses with prior simulation experience (P = 0.02), fewer years in practice (P = 0.02), and employment in non-acute care areas of the hospital (P = 0.03). “Unfamiliarity with equipment” was reported more often by nurses with less experience (P = 0.01). “Stressful or intimidating environment” was selected more often by those who work in non-acute care areas (P < 0.01). “Providing opportunities to manage rare events” was suggested as a training priority by nurses with less experience (P = 0.08) and by those practicing in acute care areas (P = 0.03).We identified several barriers to nurses’ participation in simulation training. Nurses’ tendency to name specific issues as barriers is related to prior simulation exposure, years of experience, and area of hospital practice. Rehearsing rare event management is a priority for less-experienced nurses and those in acute care areas.