Using Simulation to Teach Prelicensure Nursing Students to Minimize Patient Risk and Harm

Gregory A. DeBourgh, University of San Francisco
Susan K. Prion


Background: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimates 98,000 deaths occur each year as a result of medical errors, and preventable medical errors are increasing each year. Managing complex health care environments to ensure safe, quality patient care outcomes is an important nursing contribution. Experienced nurses are able to predict patient risk and harm based on experience and knowledge and to act to recognize and respond to this risk. First-year prelicensure nursing students have not yet developed this knowledge and skill or a clear sense of their accountability in the nurse role as primary advocate for patient safety.

Method: A quasi-experimental, preepost test study of 285 students enrolled in a prelicensure clinical nursing course was conducted to describe results of an innovative simulation learning experience with standardized patients that is focused on preventing patient falls, a dramatic example of a patient outcome that is sensitive to nursing care.

Results and conclusions: Results of the simulation learning experience suggest this instructional modality provides students with knowledge and skill gains and challenges them with memorable experiential learning that they can apply to clinical practice.