Closing the Theory to Practice Gap

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Clinical simulation as we all already know in nursing has become increasingly popular and valuable to nurse educators.  Incorporating teaching and learning strategies that enhance a learner’s self-achievement is a win-win experience. Could this experience of having Practical Nursing students go to the simulation lab and perform what we refer to as a, “Day 1 Assessment Experience” at the start of their clinical make a difference to our learners? My personal hope was that this could improve the theory to practice gap, enhance our learner’s self-achievements and overall clinical competence will be improved.

Well the thought seems a reasonable one to me. So, I researched the current nursing literature and sure enough the nursing outcomes were positive in nature. So, why not think outside the usual and customary delivery and try a different learning modality. Prior to this the only time the Practical Nursing performed a simulation experience in this clinical was at the end of their rotation. The outcome of that did translate to a very valuable learning opportunity but, also very stress producing because they never physically had been the in the simulation lab prior. Thus, this allowed for an equal increase in their nursing skills sets and nursing knowledge.

Questionnaires were disturbed over two semesters to collect the data, cluster the data and evaluate their hands on experiences. The end results, outcomes and trends from the data indicated the findings to be positive in nature. Our learners indicated that at points the experiences could be scary and it could be even intimidating but, overall very welcoming. They fully recommended that other students be offered the same learning opportunities. It was a win-win experience.

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