Opportunities for learning in clinical settings are often limited. Clinical and medical programs are only able to admit a small number of students at any given time (Curl et al., 2016). On the other hand, however, the number of students enrolling into clinical/medical programs has been on the rise. The increase in enrollment in these fields of learning necessitates an increase in capacity in these programs (Curl et al., 2016). To improve the capacity of clinical/medical programs it has been recommended that schools should collaborate with each other and share resources (Curl et al., 2016). Innovative solutions such as simulation labs have also been recommended as a means of supplementing traditional face-to-face learning and clinical experiences among students (Curl et al., 2016). The need for developing innovative strategies has become more apparent with the recent emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic forced clinical/medical schools to shift from traditional face to face classes to distance learning (Weston & Zauche, 2021). The transition to distance learning necessitated a change in the way clinical practice is taught and managed. Today, simulation labs are increasingly used as teaching aids and media (Weston & Zauche, 2021). In clinical education, simulation platforms have become a powerful and innovative medium of teaching and learning. Studies comparing the effectiveness of simulation activities to face-to-face learning activities have reported equivocal results (Weston & Zauche, 2021). 

One study reported that virtual simulation platforms are associated with improvements in student knowledge and clinical decision making (Weston & Zauche, 2021). Systematic reviews also indicate that a majority of studies comparing the effectiveness of virtual simulations to face-to-face simulations report improved outcomes among students undertaking simulation labs (Weston & Zauche, 2021). However, recent articles report varied results; some articles report no differences in learning outcomes and knowledge base, others suggest the existence of differences in knowledge base and learning outcomes between virtual simulation and face to face learning/clinical practice (Weston & Zauche, 2021). While researchers have evaluated the effectiveness of simulation labs in teaching and learning, no study has investigated whether utilizing simulation lab is comparable to face to face clinical rotation in improving nurse to physician communication. The present study evaluates and compares the effectiveness of utilizing simulation lab against face-to-face clinical rotation in improving nurse to physician communication. The findings of this study are important because they will inform the modification of the teaching modalities in clinical/medical programs to fit the needs of the post-pandemic era.

PICOT Question: Among second year nursing students enrolled in medical surgery, will the utilization of simulation lab compared to face-to-face clinical rotation improve nurse to physician communication after one academic semester?

Intervention and Evaluation Plan

Objectives

As a short-term objective, the project measures the effectiveness of simulation labs compared to face-to-face clinical rotation in improving nurse to physician communication. The long-term objective is to instill communication skills among nursing students to facilitate more effective communication between the nurses and physicians. 

Description of Site and Stakeholders

The experiment was conducted at the Chamberlain University Campus is located in Tinley Park, IL. The campus also houses Devry and Keller Graduate School of Management. The campus has two stories and has a library, SIM lab, and a skills lab​‌‌‌‌‍‍‍‍‌‌‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍​. The recipients of the intervention were students at the University of Chamber​‌‌‌‌‍‍‍‍‌‌‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍​lain. The students at the University of Chamber​‌‌‌‌‍‍‍‍‌‌‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍​lain were the main stakeholders in the project. However, to make the project a success, I worked with nursing staff and the University administration.