Using simulated practice to enhance pre-registration nursing students’ interpersonal, communication, assessment and handover skills.

Authors: Baron, S. and Warren, A.

Conference: Wessex Quality and Improvement Conference

Dates: 15 June 2016

Journal: Wessex AHSN and Health Education England websites


Project aim and objectives Overall aims: To develop a teaching and learning activity (TLA) that would enable students to apply learning from a six week theoretical unit “Therapeutic Communication in Adult Nursing” to simulated practice and, by so doing, further enhance their learning through practical experience, feedback and reflection. Objectives: 1. To enable nursing students to further develop their interpersonal, communication, assessment and handover skills by receiving feedback from those with first-hand knowledge, expertise and experience as patients, carers (service users), nurses in practice and nurse teachers.

2. To actively involve service users (SUs); nurse teachers, practice colleagues and nursing students in the design, development and delivery of this TLA.

3.To provide 2nd year pre-registration nursing students with an opportunity to carry out a nursing assessment; provide a handover report and receive feedback on their developing skills from their ‘patient’ and the ‘clinical team’.

4. To emphasise the importance and significance of communication and interpersonal skills to nursing assessment and handover, nursing practice, interprofessional/multi-disciplinary teamwork; the attainment of safe, effective, person-centred care and therapeutic outcomes.

Actions taken (including methods used) • Introduction of simulated assessment and handover TLAs delivered on 3 occasions per year to more than 200 adult nursing students. • Preparatory sessions • Participants include students, nurse teachers, service users (SUs) as ‘patients’, and experienced colleagues from local healthcare organisations. • Support team includes BU Carer and SU Partnership Group Facilitator, clinical skills lab technicians • Assessment and handover forms based on NHS documents; formative feedback questionnaires developed with SUs.

Measures and Outcomes Evaluation questionnaires completed by service users, students, nurse teachers, practice partners.

Learning outcomes and conclusions Learning Outcomes: Evaluation from all parties indicates that this TLA has value and is valued by all participants. Students report that this TLA beneficially enhances their learning and development, particularly in relation to interpersonal and communication skills and assessment and handover, and will positively influence their future nursing practice.

Limitations: resource intensive in terms of time, people and facilities. Conclusion: despite the challenges, evaluation data clearly indicates that this TLA is innovative, inspiring and worth the effort.

Source: Manual