Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology

Major Professor

Mary F. Ziegler

Committee Members

Ralph G. Brockett, John M. Peters, Margaret M. Casado


Simulation, the use of artificial systems to represent real systems, is a growing practice in the education and training of adults. In the health care field, simulation environments allow for mistakes and provide an environment where medical professionals can practice skills and procedures without harm to actual patients. In recent years, nursing schools around the world have created simulation environments and built simulation events into their curricula. As the use of simulation has increased, the research on simulation effectiveness, best practices and outcomes has grown.

The problem this study addresses is the lack of research describing the safety of the learning experience in clinical simulation from the point of view of undergraduate nursing students. Although safety for the student in the simulation environment is desired, very little research defines what that means to the students themselves. The purpose of this study was to better understand, from a student’s perspective, how undergraduate nursing students describe a safe learning environment in clinical simulations from their experiences in these events. From analysis of participant interview transcripts, the over-arching theme of ok to make mistakes was developed. This main theme encompassed several sub-themes including: nerve-wracking and blindsided, instructor intervention/instructor discord, being watched/comfortable with each other, do no harm and it got better. These findings give voice to the students in simulation and is intended to inform the fields of adult learning and nursing education.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."