Background A range of skills is required by healthcare professionals to provide adequate care in mental health. Simulation can foster skills like interprofessionalism and communication at an early stage, within a safe environment, where students can become more confident in dealing with challenging scenarios involving mental health patients. There is a vast amount of literature pointing out the potential benefits of simulation within undergraduate education and improving the training outcomes of health professionals and subsequently their clinical care delivery. This study aims to evaluate the benefits of interprofessional mental health simulation in students, considering the potential future impact on educational and clinical practice.
Methodology Participants (n = 56) were undergraduate medical, mental health nursing and clinical psychology trainees. The course was individually and collaboratively designed to meet participants’ learning needs, presenting 6 scenarios accompanied by structured and reflective debriefings. Anonymous self-report questionnaires were collected from participants before and after the course, containing measures of confidence, knowledge, attitudes and open response questions concerning the courses impact.
Results There were statistically significant increases in knowledge, confidence and positive attitude scores, with large effect sizes of 0.40, 0.67 and 0.33 respectively. Qualitative data also conveyed the positive impact of the simulation course. There were emerging themes of appreciation for interprofessionalism, improvement in clinical skills, increase in confidence, better communication skills, and professional maturation, where reflection and overcoming challenges were significant findings.
Conclusions This study demonstrated the potential benefits of interprofessional mental health simulation for students and trainees, with improvements in knowledge, confidence, attitudes, and significant areas of impact highlighted qualitatively. These benefits may influence the future clinical practice of the participants; a far-reaching potential impact of student interprofessional mental health simulation that would profit from further attention in the literature.
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