Virtual simulation and problem-based learning enhance perceived clinical and cultural competence of nursing students in Asia: A randomized controlled cross-over study

John Tai Chun Fung, Siu Ling Chan, Naomi Takemura, Hsiao-Yean Chiu, Hui Chuan Huang, Jong Eun Lee, Sunida Preechawong, Mi Yuel Hyun, Mei Sun, Wei Xia, Jinnan Xiao, Chia Chin Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Both clinical and cultural competencies are of paramount importance in ensuring patients' safety and high-quality care. While problem-based learning (PBL) is a widely applied pedagogy in nursing education, an emerging technology-based pedagogy, virtual simulation provides a realistic clinical learning experience for students. It can be an effective solution for continuing clinical and cultural learning across countries in the era of the pandemic. Objectives: This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of virtual simulation and PBL on the perceived clinical and cultural competence for nursing students. Design: A randomized controlled cross-over study design was used. Settings and participants: Sixty-one undergraduate and postgraduate nursing students from five Asian regions were selected for participation. Methods: Participants were randomized to receive either virtual simulation (group A) or PBL (group B) for one day, followed by another intervention on the second day. Three self-reported questionnaires were used: Clinical Competence Questionnaire (CCQ), Inventory for Assessing the Process of Cultural Competence among Healthcare Professionals-Student Version (IAPCC-SV), and demographic questionnaire. Results: The results revealed that students in both arms had significant improvements in CCQ total score (A: d = 21.500, P < 0.001; B: d = 16.710, P = 0.001), nursing professional behavior (A: d = 8.233, P < 0.001; B: d = 6.323, P < 0.001), and advanced nursing skills (A: d = 2.533, P = 0.008; B: d = 2.129, P = 0.029) after two interventions. In addition, both arms demonstrated significant improvements in IAPCC-SV total score (A: d = 3.467, P = 0.037; B: d = 4.032, P = 0.010) and cultural skills (A: d = 0.767, P = 0.012; B: d = 1.000, P = 0.001). No significant differences were observed between the two arms. Conclusions: The findings indicated that both virtual simulation and PBL were effective in promoting students' perceived clinical and cultural competence. As both education modes have their own uniqueness and effectiveness in both outcomes, the combination of both could enhance the variability of learning modalities. Notably, the use of virtual simulation first could engage students better in learning and achieve better educational outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105721
JournalNurse Education Today
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • Clinical competence
  • Cultural competence
  • Nursing education
  • Randomized controlled crossover trial
  • Virtual simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Education


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