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Using serial simulations to teach about chronic illness in psychiatry
  1. Lynsey McAlpine1,
  2. Kirsty Allen2,
  3. Pia Ghosh3,
  4. Alex Bailey4
  1. 1Medical Education, East London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  2. 2Medical Education, West London Mental Health NHS Trust, London, UK
  3. 3Medical Education, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  4. 4Old Age Psychiatry, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lynsey McAlpine, Medical Education Department, East London Foundation Trust, London E1 8DE, UK; lynseymcalpine{at}nhs.net

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Introduction

Simulation training is increasingly being recognised as a valuable teaching modality in mental health professions.1 With recent expansion of the number of psychiatry foundation training posts in the UK,2 there is a strong imperative to develop high-quality simulation training which is tailored to the learning needs of foundation doctors and aligned with the UK Foundation Programme curriculum. Communication skills, psychiatric clinical skills and management of chronic illnesses have all been identified as priority areas in the UK Foundation Programme curriculum.3 In this paper, we describe an innovative simulation training programme which utilises serial simulations to develop complex patient narratives and demonstrate illness progression over time. We reflect on the lessons learnt from designing and implementing this training within the North West Thames Foundation School.

Educational needs assessment

To ensure that our training met the educational needs of foundation trainees, we explored the needs of the various stakeholders including the UK Foundation Programme,3 Health Education England,2 clinical supervisors, the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych)4 and focus groups with foundation trainees. This information was triangulated and summarised into a list of priorities for foundation training in psychiatry (box 1).

Box 1

Priorities for foundation training in psychiatry

  • Priorities for foundation training in psychiatry.

  • Equip junior doctors with the knowledge and skills required to work in a complex and evolving healthcare system, including an understanding of the role of various mental health services.

  • Improve trainees’ confidence and competence in carrying out psychiatric assessments.

  • Support trainees to develop advanced communication skills. …

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Footnotes

  • Contributors LM was the project lead, and led on developing and delivering the teaching programme described in the paper. She also carried out the programme evaluation. She wrote the initial draft of the paper and contributed to subsequent revisions. KA was involved in developing and delivering the teaching programme. She provided support on the initial planning of the paper. She conducted a literature review for the paper and provided feedback on drafts of the paper. PG was involved in developing and delivering the teaching programme. She provided support on the initial planning of the paper. She contributed to the educational needs assessment process, and provided feedback on drafts of the paper. AB supervised the development and delivery of the project. He contributed to the initial draft of the paper and contributed to subsequent revisions.

  • Funding CNWL postgraduate medical education committee provided funding to run the initial pilot of this training programme. Subsequent funding was provided by Health Education England to further develop and evaluate the programme.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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

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