The effectiveness of simulation-based blood pressure training in preregistration nursing students

Christopher James Gordon*, Astrid Frotjold, Judith Fethney, Jennifer Green, Jennifer Hardy, Michelle Maw, Thomas Buckley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Mastery of auscultatory blood pressure is challenging for preregistration nursing students. This phenomenon has been attributed to the psychomotor skills required, knowledge about blood pressure measurement, and the teaching modality type. Most studies focus on developing blood pressure proficiency without determining the measurement accuracy. We sought to determine the efficacy of simulation-based learning on blood pressure measurement accuracy in first-year preregistration nursing students.

Methods: First-year preregistration nursing students from a clinical subject were randomly assigned to laboratory groups, which formed the control and intervention groups. Each group received identical blood pressure measurement education, with the intervention group undertaking 2 additional hours of tuition, using human patient simulators programmed with a wide range of blood pressure measurements to replicate patient’s blood pressures observed in clinical settings. At the end of the semester and after 40 hours of hospital clinical practice, participants were assessed for blood pressure accuracy on live subjects and completed a questionnaire on self-ratings of confidence and technical ability.

Results: Blood pressure accuracy was not significantly different between participants and assessors or between the control and intervention groups (all P > 0.05). The intervention group reported greater levels of confidence (P = 0.02) and self-rated technical ability (P = 0.01) in blood pressure measurement at week 14 of the semester; however, these difference were not observed at the end of 40 hours of clinical practice (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Accuracy in taking blood pressure was not enhanced by the use of a patient simulator, despite improvements in self-reported confidence and technical competency. Further research is required to evaluate the inclusion of simulation-based learning for blood pressure training in nursing students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-340
Number of pages6
JournalSimulation in Healthcare
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • blood pressure
  • clinical skills
  • nurse education
  • simulation


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