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Learning nursing through simulation: Towards an expansive model of learning

Berragan, Elizabeth

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Elizabeth Berragan


My study explores the impact of simulation upon learning for undergraduate nursing students. Conducted as a small-scale narrative case study, this study tells the unique stories of a small number of undergraduate nursing students, nurse mentors and nurse educators and explores their experiences of learning through simulation. Data analysis through progressive focusing (Parlett and Hamilton, 1972) revealed that the nurse educators viewed simulation as a means of helping students to learn to be nurses, whilst, the nurse mentors suggested that simulation helped them to determine nursing potential. The students’ narratives showed that they approached simulation learning in different ways resulting in a range of outcomes: those who were successfully becoming nurses, those who were struggling or working hard to become nurses and those who were not becoming nurses.
The conceptual frameworks used for this study draw upon the work of Benner and Sutphen (2007) and Engeström (1994). Benner and Sutphen’s work highlights the complex nature of situated knowledge in practice disciplines such as nursing. They suggest that knowledge must be constantly integrated within the curriculum through pedagogies of interpretation, formation, contextualisation and performance. Engeström’s work on activity theory and expansive learning recognises the links between learning and the environment of work and highlights the possibilities for learning to inspire change, innovation and the creation of new ideas. Together these frameworks present an opportunity for nurse education to articulate and theorise the learning inherent in simulation activities.
A theoretical analysis of learning through simulation offers a means of conceptualizing and establishing different perspectives for understanding the learning described by the participants and offers new possibilities towards an expansive approach to learning nursing. The study examines what this interpretation of learning might mean for nurse education, nursing research and nursing practice.


Berragan, E. (2014, June). Learning nursing through simulation: Towards an expansive model of learning. Paper presented at NETNEP 2014, Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name NETNEP 2014
Conference Location Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands
Start Date Jun 22, 2014
End Date Jun 25, 2014
Publication Date Jun 1, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jun 6, 2019
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords learning nursing, simulation, expansive learning, activity theory
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : NETNEP 2014


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