Introducing simulation for recruitment of nurses in the Emergency Department

Emily Cooper1, Jan Gehrke, Mary Boyde

1Princess Alexandra Hospital , Brisbane, Australia

In our Emergency Department(ED) at a large tertiary referral hospital, the management team made a commitment to introduce simulation to our human resource management recruitment processes specifically for Clinical Nurse and Graduate Nurse Positions.  Previously recruitment processes relied heavily on the written application and interview to give applicants an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and suitability for nursing positions through verbal responses. The nursing managers felt that the addition of simulation would offer applicants an opportunity to demonstrate their clinical judgment skills with aim to recruit the best applicant for the position.

The CN recruitment process was comprised of three components: written application, interview and simulation. The written application was scored to qualify the applicant for the next round of the application. The Interview process included a 2 question interview in-front of a panel of 3 which focused on the hospital key attributes. The simulation immediately followed which also included a 3 person panel and was scored by a pre- developed marking guide based on hospital key attributes . Each component was equally weighted and participants had to score >65% to be eligible for a position.

The Graduate Nurse Recruitment structure was very similar in that it comprised a written application, followed by interview and simulation.

Overall the applicants were able to further demonstrate their clinical skills, behavioural attributes and escalation pathways within a structured simulation environment, which does not fully allow within a behavioural interview. We believe we have obtained the best applicants for the positions and made this process fair & equitable.


Emily is a Nurse Educator at the Princess Alexandra Hospital Emergency Department. Emily has been an emergency nurse for 10 years and during that time has completed a Masters of Emergency Nursing. Emily has taken on many different nursing roles within this period but her passion is for nursing education and has spent the majority of her career working in this area.