Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Heidi Mennenga


clinical judgment, peer physical assessment, physical assessment, self-efficacy, standardized patient


The healthcare industry is seeing constant changes in patient acuity, expanding care environments, new healthcare policies, and continual advancements in research and technology. To overcome these challenges, nurses must receive education that adequately prepares them with confidence, clinical judgment, and the proper skills to provide safe and quality care to patients. More specifically, nurses must have strong physical assessment skills, sound clinical judgment, and high levels of self-efficacy (Chong, Lim, Liu, Lau, & Wu, 2016; Institute of Medicine (IOM), 2010). Peer physical assessments are generally the standard for practicing and validating physical assessment skills (Slater, Bryant, & Ng, 2016). Standardized patients (SPs), however, may be a better method for learning and validating physical assessment skills, enhancing clinical judgment, and improving self-efficacy (Sideras et al., 2013; Slater et al., 2016). The following paper describes a quasi-experimental research study that was completed to examine whether peers or SPs enhanced undergraduate nursing students’ physical assessment skills and their own perceptions of their clinical judgment and self-efficacy when learning to complete a physical assessment. Results of this study validated the use of both peers and SPs in acquiring physical assessment skills, developing clinical judgment, and improving self-efficacy in undergraduate nursing education.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Nursing students.
Nursing -- Study and teaching.
Nursing assessment.
Clinical competence.
Simulated patients.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 42-46)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted