Date of Award

Spring 5-2-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Respiratory Therapy

First Advisor

Douglas S. Gardenhire

Second Advisor

Ralph D. Zimmerman

Third Advisor

Robert B. Murray


BACKGROUND: Healthcare institutions use patient simulation as a standard aspect of training healthcare students with practical skills before they graduate and encounter with real patients. Simulation can foster the learning process of clinicians as it mimics clinical scenarios. To enhance the healthcare learning environment, it is essential to examine students’ perceptions toward the use of simulation in healthcare programs and to which degree the simulation courses influence their learning process and will assist educators initiate an effective simulation course. PURPOSE: The study’s purpose was to evaluate the perceptions of students’ use of simulation in nursing, respiratory therapy, physical therapy, nutrition, and occupational therapy programs. Method: Data were collected through a descriptive survey using a convenience sample. The survey presented in 4-point Likert-type scale and consisted of 10 questions. RESULTS: Two hundred and fifty students (N=250) were surveyed from five different programs; Physical therapy students accounted for 29.2%; followed by Nursing students 28%; Respiratory Therapy students 27.6%; Occupational Therapy students 7.6%; and nutrition students 7.2%. The majority of participants were female (70.4%) while male students represented 29.6% of the population. Almost 58% of participants reported that they did not have any experience working in a healthcare setting. The majority of students (95.2%) reported that they engaged in a clinical simulation experience in their healthcare program. The study findings indicate students’ overall perceptions have a high agreement with the statement that simulation experience was a valuable learning experience with mean = 3.52 (SD ± .577). Students demonstrate a high agreement that simulation should be an integral part of clinical experience with a mean of 3.48 (SD ± .599). Moreover, Students reported that simulation debriefing experience support their understanding and reasoning (mean=3.47, SD ± .598). The study findings revealed that clinical experience have no significant effect on students’ perception toward simulation. However, female students reported that they experienced more nervousness during simulation than male students (P value = 0.005). Moreover, students who had previous simulation experience reported more agreement that simulation was realistic than students who did not have any simulation experience (P= 0.049). CONCLUSION: Healthcare professional students have a good perception toward simulation education and feel that simulation should be integral part of education. Further studies with higher number of participants and different institutions is recommended.