Using Simulation in a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Doctoral Program ☆

Research paper by Jess Calohan, Eric Pauli, Teresa Combs, Andrea Creel, Sean Convoy, Regina Owen

Indexed on: 06 Oct '16Published on: 19 Mar '16Published in: Journal of Professional Nursing


The use and effectiveness of simulation with standardized patients in undergraduate and graduate nursing education programs is well documented. Simulation has been primarily used to develop health assessment skills. Evidence supports using simulation and standardized patients in psychiatric–mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) programs is useful in developing psychosocial assessment skills. These interactions provide individualized and instantaneous clinical feedback to the student from faculty, peers, and standardized patients. Incorporating simulation into advanced practice psychiatric–mental health nursing curriculum allows students to develop the necessary requisite skills and principles needed to safely and effectively provide care to patients. There are no documented standardized processes for using simulation throughout a doctor of nursing practice PMHNP curriculum. The purpose of this article is to describe a framework for using simulation with standardized patients in a PMHNP curriculum. Students report high levels of satisfaction with the simulation experience and believe that they are more prepared for clinical rotations. Faculty feedback indicates that simulated clinical scenarios are a method to ensure that each student experiences demonstrate a minimum standard of competency ahead of clinical rotations with live patients. Initial preceptor feedback indicates that students are more prepared for clinical practice and function more independently than students that did not experience this standardized clinical simulation framework.