Date of Paper/Work

5-2012

Type of Paper/Work

Scholarly project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Nursing

Department

Nursing

Advisor(s)

Kathleen Kalb

Abstract

Anxiety in undergraduate nursing students in the clinical setting is caused by many factors, including fear of harming patients, difficulty transitioning, and unsupportive relationships. This has negative effects which include compromised student learning, decreased clinical performance, increased risk for patient harm, and a long term effect of worsening of the nursing shortage. The issue of student anxiety in the clinical setting must be addressed by nurse educators. Implementing the use of standardized patients (SPs) is one strategy that may minimize anxiety while preparing students to enter the clinical setting. Standardized patients are trained to portray an illness or a scenario, while interacting with students to create a realistic, low-risk learning experience. Advantages of SPs for students include the realistic clinical experience in a non-threatening, low-risk environment; the integrative learning experience; the positive, meaningful experience; constructive feedback; and common learning experience for students. Advantages for faculty include control and consistency, versatility and practicality, and the constructive feedback faculty gain. The large expenses and increased faculty workload associated with SPs continue to create barriers for their implementation within nursing education; these barriers are compounded by the lack of evidence supporting the use of SPs to decrease student anxiety. Further research is needed to support the use of SPs as a strategy to decrease undergraduate nursing student anxiety in the clinical setting.

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