The use of simulation in pre-registration nurse education.

  • Amanda Garrow

Student thesis: Phd


Abstract of thesis submitted by Amanda Lorraine Garrow for the degree of PhD entitled:The use of simulation in pre-registration nurse education. September 2014. In 2007 the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) endorsed the use of simulation to replace up to three hundred hours of practice learning in the pre-registration nursing programme (NMC, 2007a). This decision was the impetus for this study as it raised questions regarding whether simulation could replace practice and whether simulated learning transferred to the practice setting. For the first time, the NMC proposal to replace practice hours with simulation has been critically analysed and the implications of this decision explored. A literature review demonstrated a lack of robust evidence to support the use of simulation in this way. This informed the development of this study's research question and aims. A qualitative collective case study was chosen as the optimum research design to facilitate in-depth exploration of the use of simulation at a selected university in the North West of England. The in-depth qualitative case study incorporated multiple models of simulation, student cohorts, nurse educators and key informants which provided the most comprehensive analysis of viewpoints in any published research in the UK to date. Deeper understanding of the case arose from the use of multiple data collection methods: documentary analysis, participant observation and interviews which enabled findings to be triangulated and corroborated. Most importantly, because the simulation models used were comparable to those used by other education providers in the UK; there is a possibility of the transferability of findings which could be used to inform the development of simulation in the under-graduate nursing curriculum.This thesis develops an argument that there were three key assumptions made by the NMC when they endorsed the replacement of practice hours with simulation. The first is that there is a shared understanding in nursing regarding what simulation is. Secondly; that simulation is delivered in a 'safe environment' and finally that competence demonstrated in simulation transfers seamlessly to practice. This thesis has presented new knowledge and developed an argument for caution regarding the use of simulation in pre-registration nurse education. These findings challenge the assumptions made by the NMC and highlight issues for further consideration and exploration namely: the ambiguity regarding the concept of simulation, student safety during simulation, student perceptions of authenticity and finally the transfer of simulated learning to practice.
Date of Award1 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorHannah Cooke (Supervisor), Geraldine Lyte (Supervisor) & Linda Mcgowan (Supervisor)


  • simulation, pre-registration nurse education, case study
  • safety, authenticity

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