Patient safety is the number one priority for the NHS and evidence suggests that greater experience leads to greater patient safety.1 Increasingly medical students spend more time in scheduled teaching and less time on the wards. When they are on the wards there are many potential barriers to gaining clinical experience such as a time-pressured environment, patients being too unwell or unwilling.2 So is there a role for using simulation-based education to increase experiential learning opportunities with medical students? Simulation has been shown to promote competence in clinical and non-technical skills.3 However most of this evidence comes from postgraduate training.
The aims of this pilot project were firstly to introduce the students to both the modality of simulation-based teaching and the concept of non-technical skills. Both of these are likely to increasingly feature in their future training and by introducing them early on it would allow them to build on them in future years. Secondly we wanted to see how we could incorporate the 3rd year curriculum in to simulation based-teaching. Finally we aimed to establish if simulation-based teaching actually improves 3rd year medical students’ clinical and non-technical skills as measured by their own self-assessment. Based on this we have developed and ran 5 one day simulation-based teaching programme, with multi-disciplinary faculty, for a total of 52 3rd year medical students. Students were asked to complete a self-assessment of four clinical and four non-technical skills before and after the programme. Analysis of these results supports the use simulation-based teaching for 3rd year medical students.
McGaghie WC et al. Effect of practice on standardised learning outcomes in simulation-based medical education. Med Educ 2006;40:792–7
Olson LG, Hill SR, Newby DA. Barrier to student access to patients in a group of teaching hospitals. Med J Aust 2005;183:461–3
Aggarwal R et al. Training and simulation for patient safety. Qual Saf Health Care 2010;19(2):34–43
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