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Simulation in nursing: the importance of involving service users

07 March 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 5


The term ‘service user’ is an amorphous concept that can refer to a variety of groups. It refers to people who use or have used a service, or to the carers or parents of service users, or it can be used to refer to lay people, the public or non-professionals. It can also be used to refer to all or any combination of these. To maximise the potential of simulation, it is crucial to involve service users: their inclusion in the co-design of simulations, alongside patient educators and participatory decision-makers, provides invaluable input from a patient perspective. They also make an important contribution by portraying patients in the scenarios within which students interact, providing perspectives based on real-life experiences, offering students an insight into how patients could respond. Such an approach to designing simulations as part of nursing education will help develop professionals who are more patient-centred, culturally competent and more responsive to patient needs.

In nursing and midwifery education, simulation is an artificial representation of a real-world practice scenario that supports student development and assessment through experiential learning with the opportunity for repetition, feedback, evaluation and reflection (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2023a). Simulation provides an immersive and interactive environment for students and health professionals to develop their clinical skills, enhance critical thinking abilities and improve patient care (Lavoie and Clarke, 2017; Jeffries, 2020).

Although simulation has traditionally focused on the education and training of healthcare providers, there is a growing recognition of the importance of involving patients and the public in simulation experiences (Fitzpatrick, 2005; Scammell et al, 2016). In response to growing legislative and public expectations, the user voice should be prominent in the ongoing design and monitoring of care services, and in nurse education. The primary objective of patient participation in this instance is to enhance the delivery of person-centred care (Bennett and Baikie, 2003; Fitzpatrick, 2005; Debyser et al, 2011; Happell et al, 2011; Rhodes, 2012; Scammell et al, 2016).

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