Examining the Perceptions of Clinical Competence of Undergraduate Nursing Students During the Era of Social Distancing

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Victoria Foster
Elicia Collins
Dianne Nelson
Comfort Obi
Jennie Bergen
Rebecca Morgan
Susan Gronka
Angela L Hollis
Shereda Taylor
Crystal Marchant
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Journal Article, Academic Journal
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<b>Background</b><br>COVID – 19 caused sudden and dramatic changes in nursing education during the spring of 2020. Traditional educational methods were rapidly replaced with distance learning and virtual simulation. The authors of this study were concerned with the impact of these changes on undergraduate education and conducted a study to examine students’ perceptions of their clinical competence with the use of virtual simulation given social distancing guidelines.<br><b>Objectives</b><br>The purpose of this study was to examine undergraduate nursing students’ perceptions of their clinical competence and simulation effectiveness after implementation of distance methodologies and use of virtual simulation for learning clinical skills.<br><b>Method</b><br>The study design was cross-sectional and descriptive. A non-random sample of undergraduate students completed two questionnaires examining clinical competence and simulation effectiveness.<br><b>Results</b><br>Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, frequencies, independent t-tests and Pearson’s correlations. Participants were 19-55 with a mean age of 29.2(9.9). Participants were mostly seniors (56.1%), female (82.5%), and African-American (60.7%). Fifty-eight students completed the entire Clinical Competence Questionnaire (CCQ) with a mean of 4.4 (SD 0.35) on a scale of 1 to 5. Scores on the CCQ were significantly higher for senior level students, those who were employed in healthcare settings, and students who had experienced some learning in a clinical setting. Fifty-seven students completed the Simulation Effectiveness Tool (SET) with a mean of 2.31 (SD 0.47) on a scale of 1 to 3. Scores on the SET were positively correlated with scores on the CCQ.<br><b>Conclusions </b><br>Students reported high levels of clinical competence and positive perceptions of confidence after use of virtual simulation as a learning tool. The findings of this study provide support for the use of virtual simulation for teaching clinical skills.
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