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Knowledge transfer and retention of simulation-based learning for neurosurgical instruments: a randomised trial of perioperative nurses


Introduction Previous studies have shown that simulation is an acceptable method of training in nursing education. The objectives of this study were to determine the effectiveness of tablet-based simulation in learning neurosurgical instruments and to assess whether skills learnt in the simulation environment are transferred to a real clinical task and retained over time.

Methods A randomised controlled trial was conducted. Perioperative nurses completed three consecutive sessions of a simulation. Group A performed simulation tasks prior to identifying real instruments, whereas Group B (control group) was asked to identify real instruments prior to the simulation tasks. Both groups were reassessed for knowledge recall after 1 week.

Results Ninety-three nurses completed the study. Participants in Group A, who had received tablet-based simulation, were 23% quicker in identifying real instruments and did so with better accuracy (93.2% vs 80.6%, p<0.0001) than Group B. Furthermore, the simulation-based learning was retained at 7 days with 97.8% correct instrument recognition in Group A and 96.2% in Group B while maintaining both speed and accuracy.

Conclusion This is the first study to assess the effectiveness of tablet-based simulation training for instrument recognition by perioperative nurses. Our results demonstrate that instrument knowledge acquired through tablet-based simulation training results in improved identification and retained recognition of real instruments.

  • Education
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Nursing
  • Simulation based learning

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