Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Nursing (Graduate)

First Advisor

Louann B. Zinsmeister, PhD, RN, CNE


Current trends in prelicensure nursing education have emphasized the use of simulation-based learning (SBL) activities to facilitate clinical judgment development through structured debriefing. However, debriefing practices used within SBL activities are inconsistent, which may impact the effectiveness of simulation in developing clinical judgment within prelicensure nursing students. Thus, the purpose of this evidence-synthesizing project is to evaluate the effect of structured debriefing on clinical judgment development among prelicensure nursing students. One reviewer conducted a literature search using CINAHL, PubMed, and Medline. Only original pieces of evidence from peer-reviewed journals published within the last seven years were included for review. The ten studies selected for review revealed inconsistent results regarding the impact of structured debriefing on clinical judgment development. However, three themes emerged, which are as follows: the ability to “think like a nurse,” safety, and confidence. Strengths of this evidence-synthesizing project are that the pieces of evidence reviewed included research and non-research evidence published within the last seven years. Limitations included inconsistencies in the evaluation tools used to measure clinical judgment, which may have contributed to the inconsistent results. Thus, further research using a consistent tool to measure the impact of structured debriefing on clinical judgment development is indicated before a practice change can occur.


This is an evidence-based practice capstone project submitted to the faculty of the graduate program in nursing in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Science in Nursing.