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A virtual, simulated code white for undergraduate nursing students

Faculty Advisor




code white, workplace violence, undergraduate nursing education, COVID-19, virtual simulation, mental health

Abstract (summary)

Background Nurses and nursing students are increasingly vulnerable to workplace violence, both verbal and physical, as health care settings and clients cope with unprecedented challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic. Concurrently, clinical learning opportunities for nursing students have been curtailed by public health restrictions and limited capacity. While virtual simulations have been promoted as an alternative to clinical hours, their effectiveness as an educational intervention on workplace violence has yet to be assessed. Purpose The authors sought to evaluate a virtual, simulated code white—a set of organized responses to a client, visitor, or staff member exhibiting the potential for violence—involving 4th year undergraduate nursing students, randomly sorted into an intervention group and a control group. Methods Pre and post test measures of knowledge and attitudes about mental health, workplace violence and virtual simulation were collected, as well as qualitative data from focus groups. Findings While the sample size (n = 24) was insufficient to detect meaningful differences between the intervention and control groups, descriptive statistics and focus group data revealed significant gaps in participants’ knowledge around managing workplace violence. Participants rated the virtual simulation highly for its realism and the opportunity to experience working in a virtual environment, while they felt the preamble and debrief were too short. Conclusions The findings illustrate a virtual code white simulation has clear educational benefits, and that multiple iterations, both virtual and in person, would most likely increase the benefits of the intervention.

Publication Information

Stephen, T., King, K., Taylor, M., Jackson, M., Hilario, C. (2022). A Virtual, Simulated Code White for Undergraduate Nursing Students. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research. 54(3):320-330.


Item Type




Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)