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Does simulation training in final year make new graduates feel more prepared for the realities of professional practice?
  1. Ciara Carpenter1,2,
  2. Tom Keegan1,
  3. Gill Vince1,
  4. Liz Brewster1
  1. 1 Lancaster Medical School, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
  2. 2 ST7 Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Health Edication North West - Mersey, Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ciara Carpenter, Lancaster Medical School, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW, UK; c.carpenter1{at}nhs.net

Abstract

Introduction The transition from medical student to doctor has long been a source of concern, with widespread reporting of new graduates’ lack of preparedness for medical practice. Simulation has been suggested as a way to improve preparedness, particularly due to the difficulties in allowing full autonomy for patient care for undergraduate medical students. Few studies look at simulation alone for this purpose, and no studies have compared different simulation formats to assess their impact on preparedness.

Methods This mixed-method study looked at two different simulation courses in two UK universities. Data were collected in two phases: immediately after the simulation and 3–4 months into the same students’ postgraduate training. Questionnaires provided quantitative data measuring preparedness and interviews provided a more in-depth analysis of experiential learning across final year and how this contributed to preparedness.

Results There were no significant differences between the two courses for overall preparedness, stress or views on simulation, and no significant differences in opinions longitudinally. Although the study initially set out to look at simulation alone, emergent qualitative findings emphasised experiential learning as key in both clinical and simulated settings. This inter-relationship between simulation and the student assistantship prepared students for practice. Longitudinally, the emphasis on experiential learning in simulation was maintained and participants demonstrated using skills they had practised in simulation in their daily practice as doctors. Nevertheless, there was evidence that although students felt prepared, they were still scared about facing certain scenarios as foundation doctors.

Discussion The results of this study suggest that simulation may positively affect students’ preparedness for practice as doctors. Simulation will never be a replacement for real clinical experience. However, when used prior to and alongside clinical experience, it may have positive effects on new doctors’ confidence and competence, and, therefore, positively impact patient care.

  • medical education research
  • medical simulation
  • medical student
  • undergraduate education
  • simulation based education

Data availability statement

Data are available in a public, open access repository. Individual participant data that underlie the results following deidentification is available indefinitely at https://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/146459/1/2020CarpenterMD.pdf. The study protocol and other documents are available upon reasonable requestPlease address all enquires to c.carpenter1@nhs.net

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Data availability statement

Data are available in a public, open access repository. Individual participant data that underlie the results following deidentification is available indefinitely at https://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/146459/1/2020CarpenterMD.pdf. The study protocol and other documents are available upon reasonable requestPlease address all enquires to c.carpenter1@nhs.net

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Footnotes

  • Contributors CC, LB and GV designed the study. CC co-ordinated the study, collected and analysed the data. TK supervised CC performing the statistical analysis. CC led the drafting of the manuscript and LB, TK and GV revised it critically. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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

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