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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 11-15

The Use of Human Patient Simulators to Enhance Clinical Decision-making of Nursing Students

1 Walden University, Minneapolis, USA
2 College of Education, Walden University, Minneapolis, USA
3 Halix International, LLC, Yellow Springs; Wright State University, Fairborn, Ohio, USA

Correspondence Address:
S Powell-Laney
Walden University, Minneapolis MN
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.99201

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Introduction: One of the newest teaching modalities in health education is the use of human patient simulators (HPS). A simulation scenario creates a software program vignette in which nursing, medical, and other students interact with a manikin to practice caring for patients in a risk-free environment. Although used extensively in schools of nursing, there is little research that examines if these expensive simulators improve the clinical decision-making ability of nursing students. The purpose of this quasi-experimental differentiated treatment study was to assess if HPS technology leads to greater clinical decision-making ability and clinical performance compared to the teaching modality of a paper and pencil case study. Methods: Students (n = 133) learning about the care of a patient with a myocardial infarction at four licensed practical nursing programs (LPN) in Pennysylvania, USA were randomly assigned to one of two groups at each site: an HPS simulation group or a paper and pencil case study group. One-tailed, independent t-tests were used to compare learning gains measured by differences in pre- and postclinical decision-making exam scores and clinical performance. Results: Results indicated that students in the simulation groups were significantly more likely to score higher on the clinical decision-making exams and to respond clinically by performing CPR more quickly on the manikin than students in the case study groups. On the 100-point exam, the simulation groups had a 20-point gain, while the case study groups had a 12-point gain (P < 0.001). Students in the simulation groups provided CPR to a manikin 30 seconds faster, on an average (P < 0.001). Discussion: Results validate the use of HPS technology in nursing education. Ultimately patients may benefit from increased knowledge and speed of care from practical nurses whose training was improved through the use of HPS technology.

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