Simulators ranging from low- to high-fidelity are used by nurse educators to train student nurses. The usefulness of the high-fidelity simulators expose student nurses to clinical situations has been debated for many years. Few nursing schools have embraced the use of high technology simulators in teaching and learning. The purpose of this study was to (a) determine how different types of simulators are used to train student nurses and to (b) examine educator and student perceptions regarding the use of simulators in clinical practice. Two surveys were developed to examine the perceptions of nurse educators and nursing students in 4 training sites. A total of 26 nurse educators and 296 nursing students participated in the study. The data from the surveys identified their perceptions on the function, benefits, limitations, challenges, and concerns regarding simulator use in clinical settings. Findings from this study indicated that (a) nurse educators were significantly more likely to use low-fidelity simulators (84.6%) than medium- or high-fidelity simulators and (b) they have utilized simulators for all size classes between 35 to 50 students. The greatest challenge reported by educators regarding simulator use (61.5%) was the need for ongoing training and education and technical support with high-fidelity simulators. The majority of the students in their first or second year of nursing education reported high satisfaction for experiences using simulators, such as teamwork and collaboration (78.7%) and increase in skill competency (77.7%). Nursing students (69.3%) experienced some anxiety working with simulators, especially using high-fidelity simulators. A critical recommendation stated by nurse educators was an expressed request that the administration provide for (a) initial and ongoing training on simulators and technical support and (b) time to prepare scenarios or funds to purchase scenarios that include use of high-fidelity simulators. An important recommendation for students was to include orientation to and practice in the simulation lab at the beginning of the nursing program, moving from low-fidelity to high-fidelity simulators throughout the program to reduce their anxiety using high-fidelity simulators.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Nursing -- Study and teaching -- Simulation methods; Simulated patients

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Hiatt-Michael, Diana B.;