SPOKANE – WSU is one of 10 schools chosen to participate in a landmark national study of simulation manikin use in prelicense nursing programs.
“Being selected to participate in this study is an honor,” said Patricia Butterfield, dean of the College of Nursing. “Simulation is the most up and coming tool in teaching nursing skills but we are still learning how to best educate our students using it.
“This study will change how nursing is taught nationwide,” she said.
Beginning in fall 2011, the study will monitor students from their first day of nursing school, through graduation and into their first year of practice.
Sponsored by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the study aims to:
  • highlight best practices in simulation use;
  • evaluate the learning occurring when various amounts of simulation is substituted for clinical hours;
  • establish key simulation standards and learning experiences in each core clinical course;
  • and evaluate new graduates’ ability to translate educational experiences into the workplace.
To achieve these objectives, students from each of the 10 study sites will be assigned randomly to one of three groups:
  • a group where up to 10 percent of time normally spent at clinical sites will be spent in simulation,
  • a group where 25 percent of time normally spent at clinical sites will be spent in simulation,
  • or a group where 50 percent of time normally spent at clinical sites will be spent in simulation.
NCSBN will monitor students from five associate degree nursing programs and five baccalaureate degree nursing programs throughout the U.S. A team from each site will manage the study. Faculty serving on the WSU study team include Kevin Stevens (leader), Teresa Barenz, Sue Weeks and Laura Wintersteen-Arleth.

All study teams will meet three times over the next six months to learn about facilitating simulation, debriefing techniques, and using assessment tools and ratings. Teams will establish the curriculum that all sites will use during the next two years based on results from a national curriculum survey that was sent to clinicians and nursing schools.

Study teams will monitor students daily, upon completion of each clinical course, after one year in the nursing program, upon graduation and, finally, one year post-graduation. The research gathered by the teams will be reported to NCSBN, which will assess nursing knowledge, clinical competence and student satisfaction with the education they received.
Researchers will examine and compare clinical and simulation experiences, competencies and level of practice. The study will continue one year post-graduation to evaluate how well new nurses are able to apply the knowledge they have acquired during nursing school to their practice. This follow-up will focus on retention of new nurses and clinical judgment after graduation.

The NCSBN is a nonprofit organization whose members include the boards of nursing in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories.

The WSU College of Nursing educates more than 1,000 students each year, one of the largest educators of nurses on the west coast. WSU offers nursing degrees at the bachelor, masters and doctoral levels at three campuses across the state of Washington but is headquartered at WSU Spokane. The college partners with Eastern Washington University and Whitworth University providing undergraduate education as part of the nation’s first, oldest and most comprehensive nursing education consortium.