Introduction The cardiovascular and respiratory clinical examinations are integral skills taught at the beginning of medical school. Traditionally, they would be taught by a clinician who demonstrates the performance on a patient to a group of medical students. The limitations of this method include: limited exposure to clinical signs due to random patient presentation, lack of opportunities to practise skills repeatedly due to patient discomfort and limited clinician time for direct observation.
The aims of this project were:
To provide a high-fidelity environment for students to hone their examination skills under direct observation without need for consideration of patient comfort.
To enable students to identify a wide range of clinical signs normally encountered opportunistically.
To utilise specialist clinicians’ expertise without extra use of their time.
Methodology Two specialist examinations of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems were recorded and edited. Seven third-year Manchester Medical Students were then taught in two separate identical sessions. They were first shown videos of the examinations and then given opportunities to practise on a mechanical patient simulator (SimMan). Various clinical signs were demonstrated by controlling SimMan’s output. Students were given feedback following direct observation of their technique and allowed to practise repeatedly. Written feedback of students’ perception of their teaching sessions were collected and analysed using Excel.
Results All students have found the session useful (average score = 9.28/10). SimMan was mostly effective at demonstrating palpation and auscultatory findings.
Conclusions Simulation equipment must be of high-fidelity to demonstrate a wide range of examination findings accurately. Clinical signs opportunistically encountered by students in real-life can be demonstrated in a short period of time. In a time-pressured environment, specialist clinicians’ expertise can be utilised with pre-recorded videos without further need for their presence. Direct observation of performance and feedback are vital for improvement of learners’ clinical skills.
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- Category: Course or curriculum evaluation/innovation/integration
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