Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Scholarly project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing




Emily Nowak


As patients become more complex the role of a nurse requires a higher level of clinical reasoning (IOM, 2010). Simulation in nursing education provides opportunities for nursing students to practice clinical reasoning skills (Jeffries, 2007). Both Kolb’s theory of “Experiential Learning” and Benner’s “Novice to Expert” support the use of simulation in nursing curricula. Kolb’s experiential learning theory is “the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience and knowledge results from the combination of grasping and transforming experience” (Kolb, 1984, p.41). As novice nurses become experts, they learn better with experiences such as complex patient care scenarios, specific to an area of nursing (Benner, 1984). Simulations provide students the opportunity to learn by transforming their experiences and knowledge to patients in a controlled setting. An important component of each simulation is the experience and quality of debriefing. Debriefing is a time at the end of a simulation when faculty and students discuss and reflect on the simulation to assist in making the connections between theory and practice (Dismukes et al., 2006). However, the experience of debriefing needs to be meaningful for learning to occur. Debriefing that guides student thinking using reflection and dialogue to make links between thinking and doing is necessary to enhance clinical reasoning (Forneris and Peden-McAlpine 2007, 2009; Jeffries, 2007).