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Tactical decision games: a novel teaching method for non-technical skills
  1. Annabel Elizabeth Suarez1,
  2. Nicolas Suarez2
    1. 1 Department of Rheumatology, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford, UK
    2. 2 Department of Anaesthesia, Oxford University NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK
    1. Correspondence to Dr Nicolas Suarez, Nuffield Department of Anaesthesia, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK; suarez.nick{at}

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    Tactical decision games (TDGs) are discursive group exercises in which participants describe their response to a scenario. Unlike simulation training, they require few resources. TDGs have not previously been used in postgraduate medicine.

    Sixteen doctors took part. In groups, they were presented with a lifelike clinical vignette and asked to describe and justify their actions. Qualitative audio and quantitative written feedback were collected. Thematic analysis was performed. The mean usefulness score given was 9.07/10. Participants found it useful to observe the behaviours and heuristics of their colleagues and liked the short and low-stress sessions focusing on non-technical skills (NTS). However, TDGs were not perceived as being realistic. They may serve as a useful adjunct in the teaching of NTS in postgraduate medical education.


    A challenge to medical educators is to provide training that can be delivered quickly and cheaply during the working day. The importance of NTS in medical emergencies is well recognised.1 Simulation training is a valued teaching method2 and much of its benefit is the impact on NTS. However, it is resource intensive.

    Here we present a novel proof-of-concept of an alternative method of teaching NTS: TDGs. These are discursive group exercises based on a written scenario, which is read out by a facilitator. Participants have a limited …

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    • AES and NS contributed equally.

    • Competing interests None declared.

    • Ethics approval Ethical approval was sought from our institution’s research and development department and was waived as the project was deemed to be an evaluation of service.

    • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

    • Collaborators Mala Greamspet; Joanna Gumley; Jennifer Callaghan.

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