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International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship

Ed. by Andrusyszyn, Mary-Anne / Babenko-Mould, Yolanda / Goldenberg, Dolly / Cragg, Betty / Maltby, Hendrika J. / McWilliam, Carol

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An Evaluation of Mental Health Simulation with Standardized Patients

Jessica Doolen
  • Corresponding author
  • School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89154-3018, USA
  • Email:
/ Michelle Giddings
  • School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89154-3018, USA
  • Email:
/ Michael Johnson
  • School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89154-3018, USA
  • Email:
/ Gigi Guizado de Nathan
  • School of Medicine/Standardized Patient Program, University of Nevada, Reno, Las Vegas, NV, USA
  • Email:
/ Lysander O Badia
  • School of Medicine/Standardized Patient Program, University of Nevada, Reno, Las Vegas, NV, USA
  • Email:
Published Online: 2014-03-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijnes-2013-0075


Interviewing standardized patients (SPs) trained to model psychiatric disorders can promote student nurses’ interview skills and therapeutic communication, while at the same time increasing their confidence and decreasing anxiety. From a constructivist view of education and Kolb’s (1984; Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Edgewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall) theory of experiential learning, this article describes the development and use of SPs as a learning strategy. The use of SPs helps faculty in overcoming some of the challenges of competing for clinical sites and meeting objectives in limited clinical time. In this simulation, baccalaureate nursing students had the opportunity to interact with SPs, who had been trained to demonstrate symptoms of bipolar disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia. During debriefing, students critiqued their performances, identifying strengths and weaknesses. The advantage to nursing students was the ability to improve their interviewing skills in a safe educational environment before encountering these patients in a clinical experience. Both faculty and student evaluations of this experience support its integration into psychiatric undergraduate courses.

Keywords: simulation; standardized patients; mental health nursing; undergraduate nursing students


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About the article

Published Online: 2014-03-12

Published in Print: 2014-01-01

Citation Information: International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, ISSN (Online) 1548-923X, ISSN (Print) 2194-5772, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijnes-2013-0075. Export Citation

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