Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Committee Chair

Candice Rome


Aim: The goal of this study was to evaluate senior nursing students and use of high-fidelity simulation in the development of critical thinking skills. Background: Nursing students are only given limited opportunities in the specialty areas, such as obstetrics, and often lack the skills and confidence necessary to provide safe and effective care as they join the health care industry as new graduates. Methods: The senior nursing students were brought into the simulation lab and given a new scenario on a preeclampsia patient. The students were given ten minutes to ask questions of the patient, complete a focused assessment, call the physician with the data gathered and develop and implement a plan of care. The students were evaluated as to whether or not they met expected clinical reasoning benchmarks during the high-fidelity simulated experience. Descriptive analysis was used to evaluate and summarize the statistical findings. Results: Analysis of the data based on the PREPARED™ Simulation Assessment Tool demonstrated that the students did not "Meet Expectations" as they were not able to satisfactorily perform in each category. However, reviewing their written reflections after the simulation scenario revealed some of the clinical reasoning skills that they were not able to verbalize during the exercise. Conclusion: The goal of this study was to use simulation to help foster the development of clinical reasoning and critical thinking of nursing students to better prepare them for the professional nursing role especially in specialty areas such as obstetrics where the learning opportunities are extremely limited. The analytical data of this quantitative study did not reflect improved clinical reasoning or critical thinking; however, the reflective writings of the students did provide some positive insight to this process. Further research needs to be conducted evaluating the use of high-fidelity simulation over an extended time to ascertain more definitive results.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.