Enhancing nursing students' understanding of poverty through simulation

Public Health Nurs. 2012 Mar-Apr;29(2):143-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1446.2011.00999.x. Epub 2011 Dec 20.


Objectives: The purposes of this study were (a) to describe the implementation of a poverty simulation, (b) to evaluate its use on nursing students' attitudes about poverty, and (c) to offer lessons learned.

Design and sample: Using a mixed-method design, a convenience sample of senior undergraduate nursing students (n = 43) from a public university in a mid-Atlantic state participated in a poverty simulation experience. Students assumed the roles of real-life families and were given limited amounts of resources to survive in a simulated community. This simulation took place during a community health practicum clinical day.

Measures: The short form of Attitudes about Poverty and Poor Populations Scale (APPPS) was adapted for this evaluation. This 21-item scale includes factors of personal deficiency, stigma, and structural perspective, which measures a range of diverse attitudes toward poverty and poor people.

Results: The results of this evaluation demonstrated that nursing students viewed the poverty simulation as an effective teaching strategy and actively participated. In particular, nursing students' scores on the factor of stigma of poverty demonstrated statistically significant changes.

Conclusion: With proper planning, organization, and reflection, a poverty simulation experience can be a positive impetus for lifelong learning and civic engagement.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Poverty / psychology*
  • Role Playing*
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*
  • Young Adult