Evaluation of two simulation methods for teaching a disaster skill

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Introduction: With increasing use of virtual reality simulation (VRS) in nursing education, there is a paucity of research exploring learning outcomes following training with VRS as compared with traditional mannequin-based simulation. Given the resource intensive nature of mannequin-based simulation, especially for disaster education, understanding outcomes from newer technologies like VRS are needed. Methods: A quasi-experimental design was used to examine the differences in learning outcomes for the disaster skill of decontamination, based on type of simulation. The study was framed by the National Leage for Nursing (NLN) Jeffries Simulation Theory, with participant outcomes identified by the framework (satisfaction, self-confidence and performance). Outcomes were measured using the NLN Student Satisfaction and Self Confidence in Learning scale and a Decontamination Checklist. Senior nursing students in the final semester of a baccalaureate nursing programme were recruited to participate during one of their scheduled laboratory days. Following a didactic presentation, students were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups (VRS or mannequin-based simulation training) to learn the skill of decontamination. Results: A total of 121 participants took part in the study. No statistically significant results were noted for any of the study outcomes: performance (accuracy and time), satisfaction and self-efficacy. Results of the study demonstrate that VRS is as effective as mannequin-based simulation in training participants for the skill of decontamination. Conclusions: Simulation-based education experiences must be matched to learning outcomes and evaluated for effectiveness. As evidence emerges regarding use of newer technologies, like VRS, educators will have more options for providing students with opportunities that best match available resources.



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