Data marks crucial step towards establishing virtual simulation’s widespread use in nursing education.

WATERBURY, Conn. (April 14, 2023) – New data released by Sentinel U® as a part of its inaugural Sentinel U Nursing Simulation Research Grant (SUNSRG) program found that virtual simulation, when combined with a standard nursing education curriculum, helped improve students’ critical decision making, clinical judgment, skills confidence and exam scores.

The new insight comes at a critical time for the nursing industry as clinical opportunities become limited and seasoned nurses retire from mentorship positions, leaving new nurses ill prepared for the rigors of the profession.

“Virtual simulations have become increasingly important for filling the gap between nursing education and practical application,” said Vice President of Healthcare Innovation at Sentinel U, Laura Gonzalez, Ph.D., APRN, CNE, CHSE-A, ANEF, FAAN. “While we’ve long known the benefits of virtual simulation, having this hard data gives clinical educators the support needed to establish precedence on a larger scale.”

Six universities were awarded in-kind grants to conduct research using Sentinel U’s virtual simulation products. Participating universities included Mount Carmel College of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio; Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas; St. Joseph’s Health College of Nursing in Syracuse, N.Y.; Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas; The University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Mo.; and the University of the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C.

The unencumbered proposals gathered data from January 2022 and January 2023 using a variety of research questions. Each study was assessed by qualitative and quantitative methods and diverse instruments to measure outcomes. Findings revealed that participants demonstrated high confidence in many areas, including communication, collaboration, increased exam scores, professional accountability, and critical thinking.

Research highlights included:

  • University of the District of Columbia found that working within a virtual simulation environment allowed nursing learners to apply clinical judgment skills without peer or instructor review, providing clinical decision-making autonomy which enhanced confidence. The ability of learners to distinguish between fact and assumption increased to 81%, a 50% increase when using virtual simulation.
  • The study performed at Kansas University Medical Center proved that repeated group participation in low-dose, high-frequency virtual simulations in a hospital setting helped nurse residents improve skill prioritization, management, and recall.
  • Other studies found significant improvement in Creighton Competency Evaluation Instrument (C-CEI) scores, and increased scores on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX®) prep tests ATI and Kaplan Customized exams.

Click here to explore the full list of SUNSRG study findings.

Now in its second cycle, SUNSRG seeks to measure the impact of virtual simulation on advanced practice learners using Sentinel U’s Advanced Practice Series®. In December 2022, Sentinel U selected four projects to participate in the study. Data will be collected through 2023.

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