Empowering students through student-led clinical vignettes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Background: Nursing education continues to evolve in terms of how educators promote active learning experiences for students. Learning through simulation provides the opportunity for students to practice person-centred care including complex psychomotor skills, in a safe yet challenging environment. Moreover, the use of simulation in pre-registration nursing education has been endorsed by the NMC (2018).

Aim: To evaluate lecturers’ and students’ experiences of student-led clinical vignettes. Objectives included: to design authentic clinical vignettes to reflect the context of care capturing key clinical skills required in the module and to seek feedback from students and lecturers about their experiences of student-led vignette-based simulated learning.

Methods: The module team crafted a range of vignettes to reflect real-life scenarios relevant to the module learning outcomes. Students worked in small groups to read the vignettes and to work through a range of student-led activities. Narrative feedback responses from staff and students were collected through an online survey.

Findings: All module staff (n=6) provided feedback. They reported that the vignette-based learning generated real engagement and interest among students. They commented on the students’ levels of enthusiasm, commitment to the activity and their responsiveness. Staff further noted that students employed problem-solving approaches to develop their competency, used their prior knowledge to seek solutions and had the opportunity to display leadership and support for others in their teams. As learning activities were student-led, lecturers reported being more able to focus on supporting and guiding students; responding with immediate feedback to and from students. A total of 91 (39% response rate) students completed the survey. Student feedback was consistently positive. This was attributed to the fact that the vignettes were authentic, thought-provoking, built on previous knowledge and provided opportunities to rehearse skills in a contextualised way that developed their knowledge and confidence in meaningful ways.

Conclusion: While this approach demanded considerable preparatory time for the module team, the dividends in terms of student learning made this a worthwhile investment. The use of clinical vignettes encouraged students to problem-solve, think critically, and develop confidence in decision-making, skills necessary for workplace readiness and the transition to practice as a registrant.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRCN Nursing Education Forum National Conference 2019
Place of PublicationBristol
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 13 Mar 2019


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