Major Article 

Enhancing Nursing Knowledge Using High-Fidelity Simulation

Michael G. Gates, PhD, RN; Mary Beth Parr, MS, RN, CCRN; Janet E. Hughen, MS, RN

  • Journal of Nursing Education
  • January 2012 - Volume 51 · Issue 1: 9-15
  • DOI: 10.3928/01484834-20111116-01


The use of high-fidelity simulation as an accepted substitute for traditional clinical learning experiences in nursing education has gained acceptance over the past decade, as evidenced by the California Board of Registered Nursing now allowing up to 25% of student clinical learning to occur in simulation laboratories. However, little research evidence has documented the efficacy of these simulated learning experiences, particularly on objective outcomes such as examination performance. Therefore, this study examined the effects of high-fidelity simulation participation on knowledge acquisition in 104 undergraduate nursing students. Students who participated in high-fidelity simulation scenarios scored significantly higher on examinations than students who did not. These findings provide beginning evidence that high-fidelity simulation can be an effective substitute for traditional clinical experience. More importantly, the findings may help boards of nursing more effectively regulate the use of high-fidelity simulation in the future.


Dr. Gates is Assistant Professor, Ms. Parr is Coordinator, Sharp Healthcare Simulation Center, and Ms. Hughen is Assistant Coordinator, Sharp Healthcare Simulation Center, San Diego State University, School of Nursing, San Diego, California.

Dr. Gates was a participant in the 2011 National League for Nursing (NLN) Scholarly Writing Retreat, sponsored by the NLN Foundation for Nursing Education and funded by Pocket Nurse. This research was supported in part by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar Program (#66526) and Sharp Healthcare.

The authors have no financial or proprietary interest in the materials presented herein.

Address correspondence to Michael G. Gates, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, San Diego State University, School of Nursing, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-4158; e-mail:



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