Background Research indicates that nursing undergraduates demonstrate negative attitudes towards persons with a mental health condition, and mental health simulation may be a possible solution to this. Method This study comprises a thematic analysis of semistructured focus groups, exploring undergraduate Bachelor of Nursing students’ experiences resulting from a simulation with a simulated patient. Results Participants overwhelmingly noted the educational benefits of simulation for understanding mental health concepts, closing the practice-theory gap and reducing placement anxiety. Also of note was benefits of vicarious learning in simulation and the realistic representation of mental health conditions. Conclusions This study has demonstrated that simulation with a simulated patient is beneficial in reducing mental health placement anxiety and confronting stigmatising attitudes. Importantly, mental health simulation has also demonstrated educational benefits beyond vicarious learning, to include provision of theoretical concepts, with practical application.
- mental illness
- theory-to-practice gap