A Case Study of a Five-Day Virtual Clinical Simulation with Pre-Licensure Nursing Students

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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing clinical placement shortages for nursing students in the United Kingdom.
Placements using virtual simulation have the potential to replace or supplement traditional clinical placements. Objective: The objective
of this case study was to examine the perceptions and experience of pre-licensure mental health nursing students and facilitators who
took part in a five-day virtual simulation. Methods: A virtual simulation placement focused on mental health nursing was developed.
Students from three universities in London engaged in the virtual simulation placement and a student focus group. Virtual simulation
facilitators participated in one-on-one semi-structured interviews. Focus group and interview data were thematically analysed using
NVivo 12. Results: Pre-licensure mental health nursing students and simulation facilitators felt that virtual simulation training filled gaps
in education, increased the accessibility of education, and led to the formation of a supportive community of students in a depressurized
learning environment. Students reported that virtual simulation provided a safe opportunity for them to practice and learn new skills.
However, facilitators reported an increased cognitive load while teaching online. Limitations: This was a small-scale case study of
a placement that was converted to suit the online environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Future work would benefit from an
interventional approach with a larger and more diverse group of students. Conclusions: Virtual simulation has potential to increase
placement capacity for nursing students. Students and facilitators perceived that virtual simulation was effective for student learning.
Challenges with virtual simulation, such as increased cognitive load for facilitators, should be explored further in future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-21
JournalJournal of the ANA-NY
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2023

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