Author ORCID Identifier

Celeste M. Alfes

Document Type


Publication Date



Background: In postgraduate intensive care nursing courses, high-fidelity simulation is useful to prepare students to guarantee safe and quality care of critically ill patients. Surprisingly, this issue has not attracted sufficient attention in the literature, and it is not clear whether the linear application of the traditional high-fidelity simulation method based on prebriefing, the simulation session and debriefing, can serve as empirical reference in postgraduate students’ education. The aim of this study was to investigate the lived experiences of postgraduate students receiving multiple exposures to an innovative high-fidelity simulation design based on Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory. Methods: A phenomenological study was conducted at an Italian University involving a purposive sample of 15 nursing students attending the postgraduate intensive care course. Audio-recorded face-to-face in-depth interviews were held by a researcher in a dedicated room complemented with non-verbal communication outlined in the field notes. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the transcribed data. Results: Three themes and ten categories were derived from the data analysis. The themes included pragmatic learning experience, the emotional path, and confidence. Conclusions: Multiple exposure to high-fidelity simulation was lived as a pragmatic learning experience enhancing the students’ ability to apply theory into practice. This novel approach also contributed to the transition from negative to positive feelings and improved students’ confidence about technical and non-technical skills when caring for a critically ill patient.


high-fidelity simulation, lived experiences, nursing students, phenomenological study, postgraduate

Publication Title

BMC Nursing




© The Author(s). 2021

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Included in

Nursing Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.