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0083 Using Simulation During The Assistantship Placement To Better Prepare Final Year Medical Students For Practise
  1. Iain Tebbutt,
  2. Emma Conroy-Smith,
  3. Emma Ginn,
  4. Holly Merris,
  5. Krupa Patel
  1. Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, Birmingham, UK


Background Tomorrows Doctors (2009) recommends assistantships should form part of the medical school curriculum. An assistantship is a period where a final year medical student undertakes most of the duties of a Foundation year one (FY1) doctor under supervision1. It aims to increase the preparedness of students starting FY12. Previous research has shown that prioritisation and other non-technical skills form a key part of preparing students for practise3. Previously simulation sessions for final year students at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals primarily focused on dealing with one sick patient. To prepare the students for FY1 we organised a simulated on-call with several sick patients; focusing on prioritisation.

Methodology Students completed a survey at the start of the assistantship assessing their preparedness for starting FY1. Results from the initial survey revealed a lack of confidence in handover and prioritising several unwell patients. Subsequently students were given the opportunity to attend a simulated on-call which focused on these reported weaknesses. In the simulation debrief students received feedback on human factors and non-clinical aspects of patient care. When finishing the assistantship, students will complete another survey to analyse whether the simulation has increased self-reported preparedness for starting FY1.

Results At time of writing data is still being collected. Analysis from the initial survey revealed 54% do not feel prepared to start FY1, with 37% reporting lack of confidence in prioritising tasks.

Initial feedback from the simulation has been positive. Students have reported increased confidence in prioritisation and management of patients whilst retaining situational awareness.

Potential impact

Students receive little training on dealing with multiple tasks prior to starting work. A simulated on-call as part of the assistantship may help students to develop their skills in the following areas in preparation for becoming an FY1:

  • Prioritisation

  • Situational awareness in pressurised situations

  • Effective handover

  • Team-working


  1. Tomorrows Doctors: General Medical Council. 2009 (Last accessed 06.06.2014) Available at:

  2. Clinical placements for medical Students, advice supplementary to tomorrows doctors (2009): General Medical Council. 2011 (Last Accessed 06/06/2014) Available at

  3. Tallentire V et al, Are medical graduates ready to face the challenges of Foundation training? Postgraduate Medical Journal. 2011;87:590–5

  • Category: Course or curriculum evaluation/innovation/integration

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