Impact of Standardised Patient Simulation Training on Clinical Competence, Knowledge, and Attitudes in Mental Health Nursing Education

  •  Aisha Rabie    
  •  Ahmed Hakami    


BACKGROUND: The limited practical placement opportunities in mental health care often induce uncertainty among nursing students. To ameliorate this, simulation training, especially with standardized patients (SPs), is employed to promote clinical competence, allowing students to navigate the complexities associated with mental health nursing, including stigma and stereotypes.

OBJECTIVE: This systematic literature review primarily aims to explore and synthesise the studies in simulation education research conducted related to the effects of SPs on clinical competence, knowledge and attitudes of undergraduate pre-registration mental health nursing students.

METHODS: following the systematic literature review approach, a comprehensive search was conducted across five electronic databases: MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, PsycINFO, and Scopus. The PICO model guided the identification of search terms. The Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT) evaluated study quality.

RESULTS: Ten studies were included, all examining the impact of SP simulations on undergraduate nursing students. Of these, five evaluated confidence and anxiety levels, while two assessed competence and satisfaction. Other aspects such as motivation, preparation, knowledge, communication skills, and critical thinking were examined individually. The collective results indicate SP simulation as a potentially efficacious strategy for enhancing competencies in graduate nursing education.

CONCLUSION: Across all studies, SPs in simulation methods exerted a positive influence on mental health nursing education, bolstering students' preparation for clinical practice by reducing anxiety and fostering confidence, competence, knowledge, and communication skills. However, limitations including insufficient supervision, small sample sizes, homogenous samples, and absence of control groups were present in all studies. Future research should address these issues to fortify evidence supporting the use of SPs in mental health nursing education.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Further robust, experimental research with larger sample sizes and validated assessment tools is needed to corroborate these findings and explore the effects of SP simulations on a wider array of learning outcomes.

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