Nursing work often occurs in complex and potentially hazardous settings. Awareness of patient and practice environments is an imperative for nurses in practice.To explore nursing students' situation awareness while engaging in simulated patient deterioration scenarios.The educational process of FIRST(2)ACT was the model for the nurse intervention. Situation awareness was measured quantitatively using the Situation Awareness Global Assessment tool. Four domains were measured: physiological perception (patient parameters), global perception (surroundings), comprehension (interpretation of information), and projection (forecasting outcomes).Clinical laboratories at each of three participating universities.Ninety-seven nursing students from three Australian universities.Between March and July 2012, students participated in three video-recorded simulation events, in which a trained actor played patient roles and groups of three students worked as teams. To measure situation awareness, following the simulation each team leader was taken to a separate room and asked to report on a question set regarding the patient's vital signs, bedside setting and medical diagnosis.Overall, situation awareness was low (41%). Of the four domains, physiological perceptions scored the lowest (26%) and projection the highest (59%). Final year nursing students may not have well developed situation awareness skills, especially when dealing with these types of scenarios. Education providers need to consider ways to assist students to fully develop this attribute. Findings suggest that this is an aspect of undergraduate nursing education that requires significant consideration by curriculum developers.