Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Melanie Hardin-Pierce

Clinical Mentor

Dr. Zaki-Udin Hassan

Committee Member

Dr. Lynne Jensen


Critical care nursing is one of the most challenging, high-stress fields in healthcare. This is especially true for nurses in the highly specialized environment of the cardiothoracic intensive care unit (CTICU). The experience level of nurses in critical care is positively linked with patient outcomes; however, with older nurses retiring or moving away from the bedside and younger nurses increasingly moving into advanced practice or management and leadership roles it is becoming more difficult to maintain a high degree of nursing experience in the ICU. Simulation training has been used to provide safe, effective training, and it is even possible that it could make up for deficiencies in clinical experience and reduce the stress levels of newer ICU nurses. The purpose of this project is to examine the use of simulation training in critical care, specifically with respect to its ability to improve learning and confidence among critical care nurses; to design and implement a simulation training course for new graduate nurses in the CTICU; and to evaluate the effect of that program on the knowledge and confidence levels of new CTICU nurses.