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capstone lab, games, nursing education, scenario-based simulation, skills



  1. Besse, Cheryl MN, RN, PNC(C), CCNE, CCCI
  2. Vogelsang, Laura MN, RN, CMSN(C), CCNE, CCCI
  3. Zdunich, Jill MN, RN, PNC(C)


Background: Although nursing students practice skills in labs as part of the curriculum, many report feeling anxious and unprepared for their first clinical experience.


Purpose: A capstone lab, integrating gaming with simulation, was implemented to assimilate previous learning and promote critical thinking before beginning clinical experiences.


Methods: Second-year baccalaureate nursing students participated in a gamified lab with simulated scenarios working in teams in various roles to manage patient situations. Remediation opportunities throughout the lab and formal structured debriefing further maximized their learning.


Results: Students reported the lab was beneficial. Most students found the lab "stressful, but in a good way," which challenged them to apply previous learning. Most students cited reduced anxiety and increased confidence for practice after the labs.


Conclusions: Integrating gaming with simulated scenarios maintained student engagement while encouraging critical thinking and knowledge synthesis to better prepare them for clinical experiences.