Comparing Instructional Methods: Traditional Classroom versus Human Patient Simulator on New Nurses' Self-Efficacy

Barri Compton, Gardner-Webb University


Despite all of the academic years spent in nursing education, new nurses arrive at the hospital to work feeling very uncomfortable when faced with performing an efficient head to toe assessment. Although classroom lecture style of teaching continues to be the norm, nurse educators both in academia and in hospital settings, recognize the need to enhance learning opportunities. New nurses often lack confidence needed to make a smooth transition from student to practicing nurse because of their inadequate clinical practice opportunities. The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of two instructional methods in teaching how to perform a comprehensive head to toe assessment, on new nurses' self-efficacy. The two instructional methods included an interactive approach using the Human Patient Simulator (HPS) method, compared to traditional classroom lecture. Simulation is defined by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) as, "activities that mimic the reality of a clinical environment and are designed to demonstrate procedures, decision-making, and critical thinking through techniques such as role-playing and the use of devices such as interactive mannequins" (NCSBN, 2012). There have been numerous studies over the last ten years evaluating the use of HPS in nursing education. Presently, a vast majority of the research is focused on the use of HPS in nursing and how it enhances new nurse knowledge, confidence, teamwork, and clinical competency (Blum, Borglund, & Parcells, 2010). The study showed no significant difference in new nurse's confidence level as related to their head to toe assessment class instructional method. However, their self-efficacy scores increased from pre to post Self-Efficacy for Professional Nursing Competencies Inventory, survey showing an increase in confidence level after the class.