Learning about a patient-empowering discourse: Testing the use of a computer simulation with nursing students

Heli Virtanen, Helena Leino-Kilpi, Sanna Salanterä


The development of patient education towards greater patient empowerment requires more competent patient educators. Therefore, there is a need to design novel methods for nursing students to learn about patient education. One such method is the use of computer simulation, which has shown encouraging learning outcomes regarding other nursing interventions. This study was undertaken to evaluate nursing students’ knowledge structures of an empowering discourse, and the change in these structures after using a computer simulation program. Furthermore, the aim of the study was to compare these possible changes with the students’ background factors. A pretest-posttest design, without a control group, was used. The data were collected from graduating nursing students (n = 43) in six Finnish polytechnics using concept maps pre- and post-test in connection to using a computer simulation program. The students’ knowledge structures were quite fragmented concerning an empowering discourse both pre- and post-test. About one fifth of the students had an improved knowledge structure post-test. The changes in the students’ knowledge structures did not associate with the students’ study orientations or with the students’ socio-demographic factors. This study provided new insight into students using computer simulation when learning about supporting patient empowerment and recommends further testing of learning methods that facilitate the development of patient educators.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v5n6p15

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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