A Multisite Study Demonstrates Positive Impacts to Systems Thinking Using a Table-top Simulation Experience

Nurse Educ. Jan/Feb 2021;46(1):29-33. doi: 10.1097/NNE.0000000000000817.


Background: Systems thinking (ST) is the ability to recognize, understand, and synthesize interactions and interdependencies in a set of components designed for a purpose. Systems thinking has been shown to improve systems and decrease error. Despite these benefits, ST has not yet been consistently integrated into all health care education programs.

Purpose: This study examined the impact of Friday Night at the ER (FNER), a table-top simulation designed to teach ST to a variety of prelicensure and postlicensure health care students.

Methods: A multisite study was conducted in 5 academic institutions targeting both graduate and prelicensure students enrolled in nursing, medicine, physical therapy, public health, psychology, and pharmacy programs.

Results: The FNER simulation was followed by statistically significant improvements in ST scores.

Conclusions: The FNER table-top simulation was found to improve ST in a wide variety of health-related majors.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / statistics & numerical data
  • Education, Nursing* / methods
  • Education, Nursing* / standards
  • Humans
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Simulation Training*
  • Students, Nursing* / statistics & numerical data