Undergraduate student nurses' experience of mental health simulation pre-clinical placement: A pre/post-test survey.
AbstractUndertaking a mental health clinical placement can be anxiety-provoking for nursing students at times. There is a need to adequately prepare undergraduate nursing students for clinical placement in a mental health setting in relation to their skills and confidence. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of a mental health simulation workshop on the skills and confidence of nursing students in providing care to consumers living with a mental illness. The study also evaluated the design of the mental health simulation workshop from an educational perspective. A pre/post-test survey was administered to a cohort of N = 89 Australian pre-registration nursing students. Exploratory factor analysis identified three factors: Mental health therapeutic engagement, mental health assessment skills, and mental health placement preparedness. Analyses of pre-post differences indicated that all three factors were significantly different between the initial and follow-up responses, with follow-up responses being more favourable. The findings of this study demonstrate that there is value in including mental health simulated patient exercise as part of the learning strategies in the curriculum of pre-registration nurses. This has implications for the quality of care in the clinical environment and level of preparedness of these students' nurses for mental health clinical placement where they will be providing care to consumers living with a mental illness under direct supervision.