Title of ArticleNursing students’ experience of learning ethical competence and person-centred care through simulation
Type of ArticleOriginal Practice Development and Research
Author/sTone K. Knudsen Oddvang, Anne-Lise G. Loftfjell, Liv Mari Brandt and Kristin Sørensen
ReferenceVolume 11, Issue 2, Article 7
Date of PublicationNovember 2021
KeywordsActive learning, ethical skills, nursing students, person-centred, reflection, simulation

Background: Ethics is a difficult subject for nursing students to grasp and learn but, like person-centredness, it has an important role in the relationship between nurses and patients. Simulation has been found to be a suitable method for learning nursing procedures and actions, and the researchers wanted to explore whether it could be a suitable learning strategy for acquiring ethical skills, which are a prerequisite for delivering person-centred care.

Aim: In response to the research question How can nursing students develop ethical competence through simulation? the study sought to consider how students could learn ethical reflection and decision making through simulated ethical dilemmas, and whether this could enhance their ability to deliver person-centred care.

Design: The study was qualitative and exploratory, and based on students acting in scenarios representing general ethical dilemmas in nursing. There were four focus group interviews with nine nursing students in their second year, during their clinical practice. Students were recruited by self-selection. Data were transcribed and analysed using Graneheim and Lundman’s content analysis.

Findings: The students gained experience through participation and acting in simulation exercises. The shared experience was a good starting point for guided reflection on ethical and tacit knowledge, and the acquired experience led to knowledge that is transferable to similar situations in clinical practice.

Conclusion: This study shows that simulation is a valuable method for learning ethical reflection in nursing education. It found simulation to be suitable for developing ethical awareness that helps prepare nursing students to deliver person-centred practice. It has become a permanent learning strategy within nursing training at Nord University.

Implications for practice:

  • Nursing students benefit from learning to practise critical ethical thinking as early as possible in order to become ethically aware and reflective during their training and later as nurses
  • Simulation is a valuable way to practise personal relationships with patients and colleagues
  • Simulated clinical scenarios improve competence in critical thinking and ethical conduct, and help prepare nurses to deliver person-centred practice. They can be used in all healthcare settings.

This article by Tone K. Knudsen Oddvang, Anne-Lise G. Loftfjell, Liv Mari Brandt and Kristin Sørensen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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