Comparing Outcomes of Active Student and Observer Roles in Nursing Simulation

Teresa A. Bates, Leslie C. Moore, Debbie Greene, Joan S. Cranford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background Because of large class sizes and limited resources, students participating in high-fidelity simulation experiences may be assigned to an observer role as opposed to an active nursing role. Purpose Educators need to determine if anxiety levels and student learning outcomes are comparable for students in active and observer roles. Methods A quasi-experimental study was conducted with 132 prelicensure baccalaureate students. Active nursing roles consisted of primary care, documentation, and medication nurse roles. Observer role students were provided with resources to guide them with developing their observational skills and achieving the simulation objectives. Results There were no significant differences between simulation roles for anxiety levels, satisfaction with learning, self-confidence in learning, clinical ability, problem solving, confidence in clinical practice, and collaboration. Conclusions These findings suggest that either role is an appropriate assignment during simulation. Educators should identify ways to be supportive and reduce anxiety in students during simulation experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-221
Number of pages6
JournalNurse educator
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • active student and observer roles
  • anxiety
  • learning outcomes
  • nursing students
  • simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Education
  • Fundamentals and skills
  • LPN and LVN


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