Using Simulation in Nursing PhD Education: Facilitating Application of Responsible Conduct of Research Principles


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Simulation is a standard clinical nursing educational approach; however, simulation is rarely used in nonclinical nursing education. In doctor of philosophy (PhD) programs, ethical content about responsible conduct of research (RCR) is traditionally didactic, presented early in the program of study. Ethics content merits review before students begin the dissertation phase; thus, the purpose of this project was to design and implement simulated scenarios to help students apply RCR principles prior to beginning independent research. Two scenarios were developed: (a) a potential protocol change discussed in a research team meeting and (b) an in-home data collection experience with an elderly participant and her daughter. Actors were trained faculty volunteers, playing roles outside their usual academic positions. Faculty facilitated scenarios by posing questions as cues related to desired learning outcomes as scenarios unfolded. Eleven nursing PhD students and 6 faculty participated. Debriefing facilitated discussion of RCR principles, common research quandaries, and suggested scenario revisions. Faculty, expert observation, and video-review showed that younger and less experienced students tried to give the “right” answer rather than implement RCR appropriate solutions. Students with more clinical experience had difficulty adopting the less familiar researcher role. Overall, simulation is a novel and useful way to enhance RCR content in PhD programs.

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