A Systematic Review and Narrative Synthesis of the Effectiveness of Peer- versus Faculty-led Simulation for Clinical Skills Acquisition in Undergraduate Student Nurses. MSc Project Findings

The Open Nursing Journal 07 December 2021 SYSTEMATIC REVIEW DOI: 10.2174/1874434602115010273



Clinical skills learning is an integral part of undergraduate nursing programmes in United Kingdom nurse education. Faculty staff teach some elements of clinical skills, and some are taught by clinicians in practice. International evidence indicates that some students feel overly anxious when taught by faculty members but less so with their peers, meaning that peer-led clinical skills teaching and learning might reduce anxiety and facilitate the acquisition and retention of skills education.


The objective of this systematic review was to explore the research relating to undergraduate student nurses’ acquisition of skills within the simulation setting, particularly the associations between peer-led and lecturer-led learning.


A systematic review of the literature was used to find all available evidence. A search of nine healthcare databases using Boolean and MeSH search terms including ‘Peer-to-peer’, ‘Clinical Skill*’, ‘Simulat*’, and ‘Student Nurs*’ was undertaken. Due to the heterogeneity of the research found, statistical meta-analysis was not possible, and so a narrative synthesis based on thematic analysis was conducted, which involved three-person research team critically appraising nine articles for inclusion in the review.


Articles were located from worldwide sources.

Three main themes in the findings were: psychological factors, motor skills, and educational issues. The use of peers can help to increase students’ motor skills, improved the psychological impact of skills and learning, and offered students a chance to be active participants in their education.


Having explored the literature, we conclude that peer-to-peer teaching and learning could have a place in undergraduate nursing education; however, it is not clear if student nurses’ skills acquisition is more effective if mediated by peer- or lecturer-led teaching. Further research is required in this area to quantify and compare outcomes.

Keywords: Systematic review, Narrative synthesis, Undergraduate nurse education, Clinical skills, Peer-to-peer learning, PRISMA.
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