This is expressed by novice nursing students in the study of Bambini, Washburn and Perkins (2009) when they exhibited low self-efficacy in their ability to perform clinical skills. The multiple tasks of professional nurses can be intimidating to nursing students, not to mention that their priority is to provide high quality medical care and nurturance to patients. Cases like these point to the value of clinical simulation in nursing education to help empower such students in being able to handle challenging tasks and situations in their own practice.
Clinical simulation is defined by Waxman (2010) as a teaching methodology that provides students with learning experiences closely resembling real-life circumstances that they are likely to encounter in their professional practice. “Simulated clinical experience requires immersing students in a representative patient-care scenario, a setting that mimics the actual environment with sufficient realism to allow learners to suspend disbelief” (p.29). Specific to nursing education is the utilization of a lifelike high-fidelity manikin which provides a high level of interactivity and realism to nursing students during their simulation proceedings (Jeffries, 2007).
The integration of simulation in the nursing education curricula is welcomed by nurse educators as a new and effective method that promises to prepare the students better for a future in the nursing profession as competent and confident health workers. Setting up a clinical simulation situation takes much time, planning and effort that draws its information from theories and professional experiences (Waxman, 2010). The complexity of clinical simulation raises the question if it does improve a student’s self-efficacy to be a more efficient professional or leave the student overwhelmed with the probable challenges he or she will face in practice. Self-efficacy is one indicator of an individual’s perception of how well prepared he or she is in being able to successfully accomplish tasks (Bandura, 1977, 1986). Further, Bandura (2004) explains that: “Efficacy beliefs influence goals and aspirations. The stronger the perceived self-efficacy, the higher the goals people set for themselves and the firmer their commitment to them. Self-efficacy beliefs also determine how obstacles and impediments are viewed. Those of high efficacy view impediments as surmountable by improvement of self-management skills and perseverant effort” (p. 145). Topic This study will explore clinical simulation as a new method of learning in nursing education. It will discuss the corresponding cognitive and affective processes that the student undergoes during the simulation and follow through if it is indeed an effective strategy in the improvement of student efficacy. The research problem The research problem posed for this study is “How does clinical simulation affect a student’s self-efficacy in learning in Nursing education?” Background and justification. The current demands of health care necessitate more aggressive training of health care professionals in order to address the growing needs of an industry that is besieged with a multitude of illnesses. More and more diseases come up with symptoms that may be unusual. These may pose a huge challenge to new nurses who have been trained in the traditional approaches of lectures, discussions, role-play and laboratory practice, as these may no longer be effective (Waxman, 2010). A nurse needs to be thoroughly trained in various areas and has amassed enough experiences to be able to carefully discern his or her next moves. Such moves may be crucial to the treatment and safety of the patient and thus,