Training app for enhancing students' clinical nursing skills

Norwegian, English, and Spanish nursing students can now use a new app when practicing practical procedures. The app aims to give student nurses the experience of a virtual teacher during training alone or with their peers.

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DigiSim Nurse training is a state of the art teaching app for training student nurses in essential procedures in preparation for clinical nursing practice.

First published March 6, 2020. Text: Cathrine Sneberg.

Skill training is an essential component of nursing students’ education programs. However, it demands extensive teaching resources and students describe lack of confidence and anxiety when facing practical skills. Due to the lack of skill training centers in many European nursing educational institutions, it is essential to develop strategies to ensure that students are prepared for clinical practice.

Therefore, teachers at UiS, together with NETTOP and international partners have developed an interactive app that gives student nurses in Norway, Great Britain, and Spain the opportunity to enhance their clinical skills. 

– The aim is to provide European nursing students with a digital learning tool to improve their clinical skills and prepare them for clinical nursing practice, says project manager Kristin Hjorthaug Urstad. 

Urstad is an associate professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Stavanger, and has extensive experience in the education of nurses.

– It is important that students feel confident in nursing procedures before undertaking supervised practice placements where they have to perform the procedures and, at the same time, care for patients in sometimes stressful or complicated situations, she adds.

Promotes learning and confidence

Nursing students must master procedures such as subcutaneous injections, wound dressing change, and blood sugar and blood pressure measurements. The DigiSim Nurse Training app contains ten different procedures and has several features such as video, equipment, and checklists, and exercises to help students when training. 

– A significant amount of training is required to master the procedures. Using this app, students can practice alone or with a peer student without teacher supervision, says Urstad. 

Students can watch the procedures being demonstrated by a professional nurse in a realistic context and use the equipment and checklists to prepare and perform procedures. The app also has audio instructions that guide you through the different steps. A proximity/light sensor also ensures that students can quickly move on to the next step. Without having to touch the screen, students maintain sterile while practicing the procedure. 

The student perspective was central to the development 

Digisim app for sykepleieprosedyrer

Anne Charlotte Myrvold and Magnus Straume are two of three students at UiS who have tested and contributed with user perspectives in developing the app. The students were recruited during their first year and they completed their nursing education in 2020. 

– Several nursing students make equipment and checklists for the various procedures by hand as preparation for exams. This app will simplify the skills training and save time for the students, says Straume. 

As such, the students have contributed to developing a tool that will help students prepare for clinical nursing practice and practical-oral exams. 

International cooperation 

The app has been developed for the project DIGISIM (Development and implementation of a digital Skills Simulation App for European Nursing Education) in collaboration between UiS, the University of Nottingham, and the Universidad Católica de Valencia with funds from Erasmus + Strategic Partnerships. The project is funded by Erasmus +.

DIGISIM is available in Norwegian, English, and Spanish and is adapted to the different countries' national nursing procedures. The app was launched in the autumn of 2020 and is available for free on App Store and Google Play.