Bland, Andrew (2016) Student nurses participation in simulation – a study to explore simulation as a learning strategy in an undergraduate nursing curriculum. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This portfolio presents a schema of publication outputs developed from different stages of a journey of research framed by supporting commentary. Collectively these provide a portfolio of study that explores the learning potential of simulation in undergraduate nurse education. A brief history and overview provides context and background into the positioning of simulation within undergraduate nurse education that influenced the design and implementation of this research enquiry.

Exploration of the literature base revealed a lack of consensus and understanding of simulation at that time. A concept analysis to search for common use and meaning of simulation as a learning strategy provided initial clarity, a foundation for further research and the first publication within this portfolio. This further informed the research aims and subsequent publications which focus on fundamental aspects of simulation which offer different perspectives for exploring and understanding this educational choice. A qualitative methodology was adopted as the optimum research design to establish a theoretical analysis of how simulation contributes to learning from the perspectives of undergraduate adult nursing students.

An adapted form of classic grounded theory (Glaser, 1978) maintaining close association with the original approach (Glaser and Strauss, 1967) enabled data to be collected contemporaneously with student performance and reflection. Deep understanding developed from the multiple methods of dynamic data collection and analysis that captured the interactions of individual as they engaged in the simulation experience. Data was analysed through multiple lenses, including context and through the lens of both the researcher and learner. Findings suggest that immersive simulation engages and enables students to actively participate in professional context resulting in reflection and a motivation to learn. Simulation in this study has been found
to enable curiosity and intellect engendered through activity which is enhanced through social collaboration and assists in embedding and contextualising theory. Ultimately students need to make identity shifts and evidence from this study would indicate that simulation enables students to think like a nurse as they make connections between theory and practice illuminated through activity and working together.

The collective publications, findings and supporting commentary within this portfolio, serve to strengthen the existing evidence base for educators to consider when designing and developing simulation-based learning opportunities.

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