Use of High-Fidelity Simulation for Staff Education/Development: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Journal for Nurses in Professional Development

November/December 2012, Volume 28 Number 6, p 260 – 269


Currently, high-fidelity simulations (HFS) are widely used in nursing education and are being introduced into acute care to assist with orientation programs, continuing education, certification courses, and staff development. In a review of the literature, many articles were found that describe HFS and its advantages and how to use the technology. But, there are few research studies to support the use. Upon completion of a review of the literature and an analysis of utility, the data do not clearly show that HFS is the best practice for the orientation and education of staff nurses. Overall, HFS is recognized as a safe way to learn, and most nurses like participating in HFSs. However, before the healthcare industry continues on this journey of widespread adoption of HFSs, more research needs to be done to show that the increased skills and knowledge of the nurse obtained through simulation does translate into safer patient care and better patient outcomes.

Key Points

  • Please note: this article discusses the use of mannikins and e-learning.
  • HFS is defined as “a technique, not a technology, to replace or amplify real experiences with guided experiences, often immersive in nature, that evoke or replicate substantial aspects of the real world in a fully interactive fashion.”
  • Newly graduated nurses come to healthcare settings expecting simulations to be a part of their continuing education, so the use of simulation by staff development is no longer an option. The learning needs of the Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials are all addressed by HFSs.
  • Although the research is limited to support some of the claims about the benefits, indicators point to HFS as a tool to assist with the acquisition of knowledge, confidence, and possibly, critical thinking skills by both new graduates and experienced nurses in a risk-free, experiential learning environment.
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