Purpose: Clinical education is a key component of speech-language pathology university curriculum, whereby students have the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge and practical skills learned in the classroom into a real workplace. However, more recently the availability of high quality, consistent clinical placements and learning experiences across the range of practice areas in the discipline is reducing. Therefore, alternative clinical learning opportunities that enable students to develop skills and competencies are being explored. Recently, replacing clinical time with a simulated learning program has been shown to achieve equivalent levels of clinical competency in speech pathology. However, it is unknown how simulation impacts on student learning in traditional clinical placements. Therefore, this research explored clinical educators’ perceptions of students undertaking clinical placements in their workplace immediately following a five-day simulation-based learning program related to the same area of practice.

Method: Thirty-five clinical educators who supervised students in the workplace immediately after they completed the simulation program participated in semi-structured interviews. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using qualitative methods described by Graneheim and Lundman (2004).

Result: The analysis identified four key themes related to the impact of students in the workplace, simulation priming students for learning, the importance of the transition from simulation-based learning to the workplace, and the role of simulation in clinical education programs.

Conclusion: The use of simulation to support student learning and develop clinical skills and competencies in adult speech pathology practice is supported by workplace clinical educators. However, results of this study suggest that the simulation program needs to be embedded within the curriculum and clinical education program to enhance transition between learning experiences and maximize benefits of learning experiences in real workplace contexts.