PURPOSE The aim of this study is to determine the effects of using case studies and simulated patients in teaching students to plan their nursing care. METHODS The study sample consisted of 70 second-year nursing students. Study data were collected using a questionnaire and by evaluating students' nursing care plans. RESULTS The highest percentages of diagnoses identified were altered oral mucous membrane, ineffective breathing pattern, disturbed sleep pattern: less than body requirement, impaired tissue integrity, pain, and risk for infection. CONCLUSIONS The use of simulated patients in nursing education appears to help students evaluate realistic medical cases and clinical problems, and plan their nursing care.