Use of Simulation to Develop Students' Skills in Reminiscence Research
Undergraduate students can provide invaluable support to research teams focused on reminiscence. However, because these students often have little experience in the field, both as researchers and as students engaging in reminiscence work, background work is needed to develop a foundation for student engagement in reminiscence with older adults. It is imperative that students are well educated in all aspects of the research process: from obtaining consent to responding to reminiscence research participants who may become upset and confused to interacting with staff at the field site. Students will also need to develop skills in collecting data using standardized tools and instruments. In order to ensure students were well prepared as researchers for studies we conducted at nursing homes, a curriculum was designed to teach students these skills in a simulation laboratory using a standardized patient actor. Simulating a variety of reminiscence research situations in a controlled setting, with an actor portraying a research participant, allowed these undergraduate student researchers-in-training to become skilled in these areas prior to engaging in research in the field.