Tackling poor NSS scores on assessment and feedback: could we learn something from nursing simulation?

Suzy Houston, Agnes Bryden, Pauline Robb, Linda Bell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Simulation is now well established in pre-registration nursing education (Cant and Cooper 2010) as an effective learning methodology (assessed by observed structured clinical observations - OSCEs) which provides a safe but realistic mock clinical environment for student nurses to practice their developing clinical nursing skills, and, crucially, to learn what it actually feels like to be a nurse (Berragan 2011: 661). The nursing literature is predominantly very positive in its evaluation of the benefits of simulation, but this tends to be heavily focused on clinical nursing practice and, as Berragan (2011) notes, the literature tends to be focused on the operational aspects of simulation rather than its pedagogical underpinning.
Within the School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery, pre-registration students are routinely provided the opportunity to engage with clinical simulation and OSCEs. A small team of staff on the Ayr campus have recently started to reflect upon and refine their approach to teaching via simulation and have made some unexpected findings which may well have implications beyond the nursing discipline. Rather than focusing on the substantive content and operation of the simulation, they have begun to examine what students need to do before and after the simulation for this to be an effective and meaningful learning experience, and have also explored how to deliver this more flexibly by harnessing technology (flipped classroom) and flexible learning hours which extend into the evenings in order to accommodate a broader spectrum of learner preferences.
This presentation considers the idea that the structure and methodology of simulation-style teaching and learning offers insight for anyone teaching in Higher Education who may, for example, be struggling against poor NSS scores in assessment and feedback, even if the core, clinical aspect of simulation does not apply. This is because the described approach generally enables a more inclusive, positive and flexible learning experience for students, i.e. via enhanced, flexible, academic support provided online in preparation for the main learning activity; and a substantial increase in detailed feedback and opportunity for reflection after the activity has taken place.
The presentation includes a description of the simulation learning activity as it was re-designed, including a strong focus on the elements of preparedness via detailed and engaging online resources and opportunities for feedback and reflection during in-depth debriefing sessions; reports on some tentative findings from an evaluation by 77 students who took part in the activity; and consideration of some interesting data which show better rates of progression and retention at the Ayr campus in comparison to similar cohorts based at all other UWS campuses where this approach to simulation is not yet in place.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHETL UWS Scotland Conference
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017
EventUWS Higher Education Teaching and Learning 2017 Conference: Creating Inclusion and Diversity in Higher Education - University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Jun 201730 Jun 2017
http://uwshetl2017.uws.ac.uk/ (Conference website)


ConferenceUWS Higher Education Teaching and Learning 2017 Conference
Abbreviated titleHETL 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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