Effectiveness of simulation in psychiatry for nursing students, nurses and nurse practitioners: A systematic review and meta-analysis

M.A. Piot*, A. Dechartres, C. Attoe, M. Romeo, F. Jollant, G. Billon, S. Cross, C. Lemogne, C.L. Burn, D. Michelet, G. Guerrier, A. Tesniere, J.J. Rethans, B. Falissard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Aims Mental disorders constitute one of the main causes of disease and disability worldwide. While nurses are often at the frontline of mental health care, they have limited access to dedicated psychiatric training opportunities. Simulation training may foster the development of the appropriate competencies required when supporting people with mental disorders. To evaluate the effectiveness of simulation training in psychiatry for nursing students, nurses and nurse practitioners. Design Systematic review and meta-analysis. Data sources Eight electronic databases, trial registries, key journals and reference lists of selected studies were searched from inception to August 20, 2020 without language restriction. Review Methods We included randomized and non-randomized controlled studies and single group pre/post studies. Cochrane Risk of Bias tool 2.0 was used for randomized controlled study appraisal, and the Medical Education Research Study Quality instrument was completed for all other studies. Meta-analysis was restricted to randomized controlled studies. The other studies were synthesized narratively. The main outcomes were based on Kirkpatrick levels. Results A total of 118 studies (6738 participants) were found. Interventions included simulated patients (n = 55), role-plays (n = 40), virtual reality (n = 12), manikins (n = 9) and voice simulations (n = 9). Meta-analyses based on 11 randomized controlled studies found a significant large effect size on skills at immediate post-test for simulation compared with active control; and a small and medium effect size on learners' attitudes for simulation compared with inactive control, at immediate post-test and at three-month follow-up respectively. Three quarters of non-randomized controlled studies and pre/post-tests assessing attitudes and skills showed significant differences, and three quarters of participants in randomized controlled studies and pre/post-tests showed significant differences in behaviours. Among the few studies assessing people with mental health outcomes, almost all reported significant differences. Conclusion These findings support the effectiveness of simulation training in psychiatric nursing throughout professional development grades, despite heterogeneity in methods and simulation interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-347
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number2
Early online date11 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • mental health
  • meta-analysis
  • nurse education
  • nurse practitioners
  • nurses
  • simulation
  • students
  • nursing
  • systematic review

Cite this