Development of a simulation-based sub-module in undergraduate medical education

Marie Catherine Morris, Patrick Conroy
Irish Journal of Medical Science 2020, 189 (1): 389-394

BACKGROUND: It is well documented that medical students struggle to bridge the theory-practice gap. Competently integrating classroom-taught skills into the clinical setting is a challenge.

METHODS: A survey of final year medical students identified a lack of confidence in managing common clinical emergencies that are experienced in the Intern role. The researchers devised a new sub-module to include high-fidelity simulation in the undergraduate medical curriculum. This development was underpinned by an educational curriculum model. Students attended small group teaching using high-fidelity simulation training (Sim-Man 3G ™) and practiced managing common emergencies. Training sessions were facilitated by clinical tutors and anaesthetic lecturers. Cases were supplied by clinical staff. An evidence-based format was utilised as an integrative teaching method.

RESULTS: A simulation-based sub-module based on Finks Taxonomy was planned, introduced and evaluated. Utilisation of a high-fidelity simulation-based approach to teaching had a marked effect on student's confidence in their ability to manage clinical emergencies. Students reported very positive attitudes to this new method of teaching, specifically related to the integration of previously acquired knowledge and skills. A hands-on practical approach in a safe learning environment was valued by students.

CONCLUSIONS: The module descriptor devised can be used as a template for further curricular reform. Simulation-based teaching is feasible in the undergraduate setting and may ease the transition to postgraduate teaching modalities.

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