Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs strive to ready student nurses for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) that tests not only pure knowledge, but the reasoning and application of that knowledge. These programs provide student nurses with the necessary knowledge base and ability to apply knowledge in practice; especially since the introduction of Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) has been integrated into didactics. EBP, along with hours of clinical placement, benefit student nurses by arming them with the clinical judgment skills called for in the workplace. However, if student nurses accrue more focused clinical hours in their areas of specialty, they will be better prepared for the situations they will face in their careers for which simulation labs or nonspecific clinical settings fail to adequately prepare them. With more hours spent in specialty areas, student nurses will be able to establish higher degrees of mental preparedness and hands on experience as well as understanding of the difficulties and demands of working as a nurse in a specific field as opposed to shifting between various focuses of nursing.
EBP is a method of finding evidence and using it in practice: as Blaney (1986) states, it is used to assess health, plan, implement, and evaluate individualized care (p.182). Finotto et al. (2013) breaks EBP down into steps as follows: Formulate a research question; find the most relevant evidence; appraise evidence; integrate evidence with clinical experience and patient values to make practical decisions; and evaluate the outcome (p.460). Carrazzone (2009) and Moch et al. (2010) argue that didactic components with EBP integrated into the education are believed to be beneficial to student nurses and patients receiving care in that the students are more capable and comfortable relying on their knowledge and applying it successfully to caring for a patient about whose condition students are educated about (as cited in Werner-Rutledge, 2012, p.13). As noted in many of these studies evaluating didactic nursing education, said component has proven to give student nurses the knowledge base necessary from which to build and grow in the laboratory and on-site clinical instruction.
Simulation labs and clinical placements are effective for practicing skills and building hands-on dexterity, habits, rhythms, and confidence. Not every facet of nursing education prepares student nurses with this kind of learning; originally an, most commonly clinical hours spent in simulation labs were integrated strictly into BSN programs, eliciting the statement made by Taylor (2008) that ADN programs have had to expand their curricula and offer students more content (p.613). According to Go’s (2012) dissertation on High Fidelity Patient Simulation (HFPS), simulation labs are advantageous because they give student nurses a venue for instruction while working in a clinical setting (p. 34). HFPS promotes and...