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58 Signing up to safety: multi-disciplinary ward-based simulation as a way of supporting healthcare students to learn about patient safety
  1. J Hollamby1,
  2. I Taylor1,
  3. L Berragan2,
  4. D Taylor3
  1. 1North Bristol Academy, University of Bristol Medical School, UK
  2. 2University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
  3. 3University of Bath, UK


UK health care students can feel un-prepared for registered practice and foundation jobs due to lack of experience in prioritisation, difficulties managing workloads and increased stress levels.1–3

The University of the West of England, Bristol University and the University of Bath piloted a collaborative programme delivering multi-disciplinary ward based simulation teaching to a cohort of final year nursing, medical and pharmacy students. Aims included improving awareness of patient safety, prioritisation skills, delivery of care and inter-disciplinary team work.

Nursing students delivered care, assessed and treated patients and referred to the ‘doctor’. Medical students worked as the junior doctor on-call; completing ward jobs and managing un-well patients. Pharmacy students advised on medication prescribing, administration and complex pharmaceutical issues. At three ‘time out’ points during the simulation students discussed issues and challenges encountered, in a facilitated debrief.

Qualitative and quantitative data collected from students overwhelmingly suggested that the simulation was an effective way of improving confidence in prioritisation and assessment and was a novel method of promoting understanding of multidisciplinary team roles. This had a positive effect on the way that students communicated with one another and encouraged appropriate delegation of tasks. Students suggested that the learning points from the simulation offered a focused understanding of some common patient safety issues and strategies to address these. This pilot project showed the effectiveness of students acting as patients within the scenarios, many citing increased empathy for patients and improved awareness of the pressures encountered in a busy ward. Students acting also reduces running costs and faculty requirements.

We hope to better equip medical, nursing and pharmacy students for the challenges of registered practice. By experiencing the challenges of a realistic ward environment and better understanding co-workers roles, we hope to foster more effective interdisciplinary communication and most importantly, improve patient safety.


  1. Monaghan T. A critical analysis of the literature and theoretical perspectives on theory-practice gap amongst newly qualified nurses within the United Kingdom. Nurse Education Today 2015;35(8):e1–e7.

  2. Monrouxe L, Bullock A, Cole J, Gormley G, Kaufhold K, Kelly N, Mattick K, Rees C, Scheffler G. (2014) How Prepared are UK Medical Graduates for Practice? Final report from a programme of research commissioned by the General Medical Council.

  3. Boyter A, Winn P. Experiential learning in the Pharmacy degree Enhancement and Innovation in Higher Education 2015. QAA Scotland, Glasgow.

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