Article Text

0025 The participant experience in interprofessional mental health simulation
  1. Christopher Kowalski,
  2. Rosemary Humphreys,
  3. Angharad Piette
  1. Maudsley Simulation, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK


Background The use of simulation in mental health education is increasing. In view of changing working patterns and complex care pathways in mental health, an interprofessional approach is crucial. There is little research looking at participants’ experience of interprofessional mental health simulation (IMHS). Examining the pedagogical aspects of IMHS will allow for better understanding of its uses.

Methodology Using existing guidelines, we developed a number of IMHS courses for a variety of mental health and other healthcare professionals. The majority of these were one-day interprofessional courses which used established debriefing models to promote learning and reflection. Using a variety of qualitative methods, including focus groups, semi-structured interviews and evaluation forms, we collected feedback from 206 participants to explore their experience of IMHS. A thematic analysis was completed by three independent researchers.

Results IMHS was found to be a novel and stimulating learning experience. Participants reported a lack of existing training opportunities around mental health. The psychological fidelity and applicability of the scenarios to real life was highlighted, as was the opportunity to practise managing anxiety-inducing situations.

Participants valued learning with and from others in a non-judgemental environment. Taking part led to participants feeling better understood by their colleagues and promoted reflection on individual areas for development. The importance of validation of feelings and the provision of a reflective space was identified along with few opportunities for this elsewhere.

Some participants felt lacking in their existing knowledge base which led to them not having achieved their personal learning objectives.

Conclusions Our results show that IMHS is highly valued by learners. Its interprofessional nature directly addresses the complexity of mental healthcare provision. However, the variable baseline knowledge of participants poses challenges to meeting the learning objectives of all. A balance between simulation and didactic teaching methods is required.


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  3. Salas E, Wilson KA, Burke CS, Priest HA. Using simulation-based training to improve patient safety: what does it take? Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf 2005;31(7):363–371

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