Major Article 

A Theoretical Framework for Simulation in Nursing: Answering Schiavenato’s Call

Kevin R. Harris, PhD; David W. Eccles, PhD; Paul Ward, PhD; James Whyte, IV, PhD

  • Journal of Nursing Education
  • January 2013 - Volume 52 · Issue 1: 6-16
  • DOI: 10.3928/01484834-20121107-02


The aim of this article was to provide a response that supports and extends Schiavenato’s call for a theoretically guided approach to simulation use in nursing education. We propose that a theoretical framework for simulation in nursing must first include, as a basis, a theoretical understanding of human performance and how it is enhanced. This understanding will, in turn, allow theorists to provide a framework regarding the utility, application, and design of the training environment, including internal and external validity. The expert performance approach, a technique that recently has been termed Expert-Performance-based Training (ExPerT), is introduced as a guiding framework for addressing these training needs. We also describe how the theory of deliberate practice within the framework of ExPerT can be useful for developing effective training methods in health care domains and highlight examples of how deliberate practice has been successfully applied to the training of psychomotor and cognitive skills.

Dr. Harris is Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee; Dr. Eccles is Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology, School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom; Dr. Ward is Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors graduate program, Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan; and Dr. Whyte is Associate Professor and Director for Graduate Programming and Research, College of Nursing, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida.

The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

Address correspondence to Kevin R. Harris, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Austin Peay State University, PO Box 4537, Clarksville, TN 37044-4594; e-mail:

Received: August 30, 2011
Accepted: June 27, 2012
Posted Online: November 07, 2012



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