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Simulation in Nursing: A Critical Appraisal

Sanford, P. G. (2010). Simulation in nursing education: A review of the research. The Qualitative Report, 15(4), 1006-1011.

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The author aimed at reviewing published articles that used both qualitative and quantitative research techniques to assess the use of simulation in nursing education. Specifically, the article concentrated on reviewing papers published on high-fidelity simulation (Sanford, 2010). The author asserted that high-fidelity simulation was a new teaching technology that had been adopted by nursing schools to teach their students. However, the author said that there was limited research on the impact of the teaching technology at the time of reviewing the articles. The review attempted to answer the following research questions:

  1. How long has simulation been used to teach nurses?
  2. Is the effectiveness of simulation education supported by evidence-based research?
  3. How effective is simulation in ensuring positive learning outcomes?

The study reviewed several articles published in simulation nursing learning to find answers to the above questions (Sanford, 2010).

The paper did not present details on the methods utilized in the review study. For instance, the author did not give the search terms used to search for the articles reviewed. The online search engines were not listed in the paper. Research databases are important sites where research information in the form of articles is kept for retrieval by members of the scientific community. The article did not provide the information on the databases where the articles used for the review were accessed. The author did not provide information on the criteria used to select articles for the review. Library research studies require that the criteria for selecting publications be outlined so that there could be a limit on the number and quality of publications to be reviewed. The criteria may be based on the year of publication, subjects and locations, among others. Some of the articles used were outdated.

However, the author did a thorough review of the articles. For each article reviewed, the author identified the aims and/or objectives of the study, study design, results and conclusion. The author used quality terms in research and healthcare nursing. If the author did not trust some aspects of an article, she pointed it out in the discussion. The author concluded by asserting that more research on high-fidelity simulation needed to be done because there was limited research on the topic. The article is commendable because its findings have practical implications for nursing education programs in nursing schools around the world.

Sharpnack, P. A., & Madigan, E. A. (2012). Using Low-fidelity simulation with sophomore nursing students in a baccalaureate nursing program. Nursing Education Perspectives, 33(4), 264-268.

The researchers were interested in evaluating the effectiveness of simulation strategies in nursing education (Sharpnack & Madigan, 2012). The researchers asserted that simulation could be employed in nursing education to replicate real situations in the learning environment so that they could be handled when they happen in real nursing settings. The study subjects were sophomore students in a nursing school. The aim of the study was to evaluate the quality and safety of nursing education using simulation techniques (Sharpnack & Madigan, 2012). Specifically, the researchers aimed at assessing the effectiveness of low-fidelity simulation on the outcomes of nursing education. The simulation approaches were evaluated using the following parameters:

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  1. Education scale of simulation
  2. Simulation design scale
  3. Student satisfaction level
  4. Student self-confidence

A computer aided instruction program was used to assist the participating students to go through real patient scenarios. The study design allowed the students to think critically and offer the best care to the patients assigned to them (Sharpnack & Madigan, 2012).

The article was very thorough in the methods section. The researchers strictly followed standard procedures to offer simulation assessments to the participating nursing students. The researchers gave the sample size for each task assigned to nursing students. In addition, the researchers described the patients assigned to the nurses. They concluded that low-fidelity simulation methods had positive outcomes in nursing education. They found that nursing students were stimulated by simulation techniques to think critically and offer best nursing care to patients.

However, the study lacked in the research design used. It could have been more rigorous if it used a mixed-methods approach. A mixed-methods approach uses both qualitative and quantitative methods for data collection and analysis. This approach could have accommodated analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data. That notwithstanding, this article was published just one year ago and it has practical implications in nursing education.

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