Journal of Intensive and Critical Care Nursing

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Opinion Article - Journal of Intensive and Critical Care Nursing (2024) Volume 7, Issue 1

Examining the impact of experiential learning on nursing student competency

Ruth A. Engbers *

School of Nursing, University of Wollongong, Australia

*Corresponding Author:
Ruth A. Engbers
School of Nursing, University of Wollongong, Australia

Received: 01-Feb-2024, Manuscript No. AAICCN-24-129293; Editor assigned: 06-Feb-2024, PreQC No. AAICCN-24-129293(PQ); Reviewed:20-Feb-2024, QC No. AAICCN-24-129293; Revised:22-Feb-2024, Manuscript No. AAICCN-24-129293(R); Published: 29-Feb-2024, DOI:10.35841/aaiccn-7.1.187

Citation: Engbers RA. Examining the impact of experiential learning on nursing student competency. J Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2024; 7(1):187

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Experiential learning is a fundamental component of nursing education, providing students with hands-on opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world clinical settings. This article explores the impact of experiential learning on nursing student competency, examining its significance in preparing future nurses for the complexities of healthcare practice [1,2].

Nursing is a practice-based profession that requires a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills. While classroom instruction provides students with foundational knowledge, experiential learning offers invaluable opportunities for application, reflection, and skill development. Through clinical placements, simulation exercises, and hands-on experiences, nursing students gain first hand exposure to patient care, critical thinking, and decision-making in a supervised environment.[2, 3,4].

Experiential learning bridges the gap between theory and practice, enabling students to translate classroom learning into clinical skills. By actively participating in patient care activities, students reinforce their understanding of concepts such as assessment, diagnosis, and intervention. Nursing students acquire essential clinical skills through hands-on practice in diverse healthcare settings. From performing physical assessments to administering medications, experiential learning opportunities allow students to hone their technical skills under the guidance of clinical preceptors and faculty mentors. Experiential learning encourages students to think critically and problem-solve in real-time clinical scenarios. By encountering complex patient cases and unexpected challenges, students learn to analyze information, prioritize care, and make evidence-based decisions in dynamic healthcare environments. In addition to clinical skills, experiential learning helps students develop professional competencies such as communication, teamwork, and ethical practice. By interacting with patients, families, and interdisciplinary healthcare teams, students learn to communicate effectively, collaborate with others, and uphold ethical standards of care[>,4, 5].

Through hands-on experiences in clinical settings, nursing students develop the clinical skills and confidence needed to provide safe and competent patient care. Experiential learning allows students to practice nursing procedures, perform assessments, and engage in therapeutic interventions under the supervision of experienced clinicians. Experiential learning fosters the development of critical thinking abilities essential for nursing practice. By encountering diverse patient populations and clinical scenarios, students learn to assess complex situations, analyze data, and formulate evidence-based care plans to meet individual patient needs. Experiential learning instills professionalism and ethical values in nursing students, emphasizing the importance of integrity, empathy, and advocacy in patient care. Through interactions with patients, families, and healthcare teams, students learn to uphold ethical principles, respect patient autonomy, and advocate for social justice in healthcare. Experiential learning enhances nursing students' communication and interpersonal skills, enabling effective interactions with patients, families, and colleagues. By practicing therapeutic communication techniques and collaborating with multidisciplinary teams, students develop the interpersonal skills needed to establish trusting relationships and provide patient-centered care [6, [7].

Securing adequate clinical placements can be challenging due to limited availability, competition among nursing programs, and scheduling constraints. Nursing schools must collaborate with healthcare facilities to ensure sufficient clinical experiences for students while addressing staffing shortages and patient care needs. Faculty members play a critical role in facilitating experiential learning experiences for nursing students. However, heavy workloads, teaching responsibilities, and clinical supervision duties can strain faculty resources. Nursing schools should invest in faculty development programs and provide adequate support to ensure effective clinical teaching and mentorship. Simulation-based learning offers a valuable complement to traditional clinical experiences, providing students with realistic scenarios in a controlled environment [8].

However, simulation resources and infrastructure can be costly to implement and maintain. Nursing programs should invest in simulation technology and training to enhance students' learning experiences and prepare them for clinical practice. Experiential learning should expose nursing students to a diverse range of clinical settings and patient populations to promote cultural competence and holistic care. However, disparities in healthcare access, socioeconomic factors, and geographic location may limit students' exposure to diverse clinical experiences. Nursing schools should strive to offer inclusive clinical placements and opportunities for students to engage with underserved communities [9, 10].


Experiential learning plays a pivotal role in nursing education, shaping the competency and professional development of future nurses. By providing hands-on experiences in clinical settings, simulation labs, and community-based initiatives, nursing students gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to thrive in dynamic healthcare environments. While challenges exist, the benefits of experiential learning far outweigh the obstacles, paving the way for competent, compassionate, and culturally competent nurses prepared to meet the evolving needs of patients and communities.


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