Clinical simulation is an essential component of health professional education. Digital technologies can provide students with near-reality, interactive virtual simulation learning experiences on static and mobile appliances. Clarification is needed, however, regarding the various types of virtual simulation and the different program components. We drew on published literature to define virtual simulation modalities and to offer definitive terminology to clarify the nomenclature and composition of virtual simulation. Reporting should include description of ‘Fidelity’ ‘Immersion’ and ‘Patient’ to add clarity and utility to research in the field.
Background Simulation-based education is one strategy that may be used to teach nursing students to recognize and manage patient deterioration. Method Final-year preregistration nursing students (n = 97) completed three face-to-face laboratory-based team simulations with a simulated patient (actor) and 330 students individually completed a three-scenario Web-based simulation program: FIRST2ACTWeb™. Results Both groups achieved moderate performance scores (means: face to face, 49%; e-simulation, 69%). Course evaluations were positive, skill gain showing a greater effect size in the face-to-face program than for e-simulation, and higher satisfaction and more positive appraisal. Conclusion Face-to-face simulation and e-simulation are effective educational strategies with e-simulation offering greater feasibility. Either strategy is likely to add value to the learning experience.