Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Simulation learning is an integral component of many undergraduate nursing programs throughout the country. Experiential learning through simulation allows students to improve their cognitive, affective, and psychomotor skills. Some clinical experiences lack significant practice of clinical skills for students; including the inability to assume the role of the nurse. A recent literature review revealed a need to advance the understanding of simulation learning and transfer; with many questions still remaining unanswered. The aim of this study was to conceptualize the process by which simulation learning transfers to the clinical environment in undergraduate nursing students. Twenty-five, fourth-year traditional nursing students, who had completed at least one medical-surgical simulation experience, were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide. Through data analysis, using constant comparison, a model emerged that explained the simulation learning transfer process. The core category was Acting Like A Nurse and the model had ten categories. The categories reflected stages in the model. The beginning stages of the model included in the categories of Being in Simulation and Being in Clinical. The middle stages of the model reflected interaction between the student and simulation included in the categories of Being Able to Practice, Getting Feedback,

Making Sense of My Learning , Fitting Together, and Applying My Learning. The final

stages were Gaining Confidence and Becoming More Comfortable with the outcome

category being Knowing What to Do. Of particular importance it was determined that the

greater exposure of participants to simulation learning, the more likely knowledge and

skill acquisition would occur. Simulation learning and transfer to the clinical environment was a sequential process, beginning with simulation experiences. Acting Like A Nurse impacted the development of transfer of learning and contributed to the unique findings in this study. The findings of this study have implications for nurse educators to enhance educational strategies and student learning. Furthermore, implications for future research are the study of simulation learning and the process of transfer in various student groups and development of an empirically derived tool to assess the transfer process.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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Nursing Commons