Factors influencing nursing students’ ability to recognise and respond to simulated patient deterioration: A scoping review

Pauline C. Gillan, Lori J. Delaney, Naomi Tutticci, Sandra Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: The aim of this scoping review was to identify empirical literature on simulation used to develop undergraduate nursing student's clinical assessment skills to recognise and respond to patient deterioration.

Background: Early recognition and response to clinical deterioration is necessary to ensure the best outcome for the patient. Undergraduate nursing students have limited exposure to deteriorating patient situations, therefore simulation is widely implemented in nursing courses to address this educational need. It is imperative to identify the simulation modalities and features that best optimise student learning.

Design: Scoping review using the Joanna Briggs Institute scoping reviews methodology and the Arksey and O'Malley framework. Review methods: Seven health databases were searched electronically for relevant literature and complemented with hand searching for additional relevant sources. A total of 344 potential articles were identified from the seven databases: Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (n = 234); PubMed (n = 16); Medline (n = 51); Scopus (n = 21); Embase (n = 3); American Psychological Association PsychInfo (n = 13); and JBI (n = 6). After applying inclusion and exclusion criteria, 15 research articles were included in the review.

Results: Most research on clinical deterioration simulation was quantitative (n = 12), two were qualitative and one used a mixed method approach. Findings included a lack of situational awareness, distractors causing incomplete patient assessment and failure to recognise deterioration. Repeated simulation showed positive results.

Conclusions: Findings of this review suggest students lack situational awareness, perform incomplete assessment and fixate on single cues rather than an entire clinical picture. The use of a variety of simulation modalities was effective in improving student performance. Repeated practice within a single simulated learning experience, was shown to improve performance and situational awareness. This approach to simulation is under-researched in nursing and needs further exploration.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103350
Number of pages11
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


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