Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Andrew Reyes

Second Committee Member

Reimund Serafica

Third Committee Member

Leland Rockstraw

Fourth Committee Member

Alice Corkill

Number of Pages



Simulation is an integral teaching methodology used within current nursing curricula. The goal of simulation is to promote learning, develop clinical judgment and reasoning, and ultimately improve patient care. However, some factors can disrupt the goals of the simulation learning experience. Students may experience uncomfortable emotional responses, such as anxiety, during simulation events, which impairs students' thinking processes leading to decreased learning, poor performance, an inability to assess knowledge, and potentially prohibits the transfer of knowledge to practice. Over 90% of the general Generation Z (Gen Z) population report uncomfortable emotions such as stress and anxiety. Simulation is used in the majority of pre-licensure nursing programs and currently over 75% of nursing students belong to the Gen Z population. The Gen Z’s susceptibility towards uncomfortable emotions and inability to manage stress could set this generation up for poor outcomes within the simulated learning environment. The research identifies uncomfortable emotions in simulation, the Gen Z population with increased negative emotional responses, and impaired learning outcomes when uncomfortable emotions are present. However, Gen Z nursing students' emotional experiences and processing during simulation are unclear. This qualitative study used the Straussian grounded theory method, with a symbolic interactionism framework, to examine the Gen Z nursing student's emotional experience in simulation, their emotional responses, and the processing of emotions during the learning activity. Participants were Gen Z nursing students participating in simulation in an undergraduate baccalaureate nursing program. Data was obtained through a reflection survey and semi-structured interviews. Data collection, coding, and analysis occurred concurrently with constant comparison analysis. Grounded theory methods were used to derive concepts and theories directly from empirical data inductively. Trustworthiness was established through credibility, dependability, confirmability, and transferability. The research followed the ethical principles found in the Belmont Report.


Anxiety; Emotional Processing; Generation Z; Nursing; Simulation



File Format


File Size

1567 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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Included in

Nursing Commons