Using Learning Objectives to Determine Level of Fidelity Compared to Traditional Clinical Experiences for Student Perceived Learning Effectiveness
Introduction: There is an increase in the acceptance of simulation in nursing education. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing1 states simulation can be used as a substitute for traditional clinical experiences if the simulation is designed and conducted appropriately. There is a dearth of data comparing simulation and traditional clinical experiences. This is especially true for low-fidelity simulations. Methods: The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship of baccalaureate (BSN) nursing students’ perceived learning effectiveness using the Clinical Learning Environments Comparison Survey (CLECS) of different levels of fidelity simulation based on the learning objectives, and traditional clinical experiences. A convenience sample of 103 first semester BSN students enrolled in a required fundamental/assessment clinical course and 155 fifth semester BSN students enrolled in a required leadership clinical course participated in this study. A descriptive correlational design was used for this cross-sectional study to evaluate students’ perceptions after a simulation experience and the completion of the traditional clinical experiences. The CLECS tool was used for both clinical experiences. Results: There were no statistical differences between the subscales: communication, nursing leadership, and teaching-learning dyad. However, the communication subscale showed tendency towards preference of traditional clinical experiences in meeting students’ perceived learning for communication. Conclusion: Simulation, even low-fidelity, can be perceived by BSN students as effective as the traditional learning experiences. In order to achieve these results, the simulation must be designed based on the objectives and outcomes to be obtained.