Are undegraduate healthcare students learning about each other from multiprofessional scenario-based simulation training?
Introduction: During initial training, students have few opportunities to practise alongside students from other disciplines other than in a classroom setting (1). Simulation offers an ideal context to provide clinical experience in a safe and controlled environment (2). This project explores whether simulation improves trainees’ knowledge of other healthcare discipline roles and skills. Methods: Following ethical approval, final year healthcare students were invited to a 3-hour multiprofessional simulation session. A series of scenarios were developed with advice from relevant discipline specific professionals to represent a traditional patient care pathway. Students from 3-4 disciplines were invited to form groups of 12 to 16. During each session students were randomly selected to fill in a questionnaire with 40 questions to test their knowledge of different healthcare disciplines. Half of the students filled in the questionnaire before the simulation experience (Control group) and the other half after (Experimental group). Two scenarios were run per session, followed by debriefing, giving students the opportunity to observe and be involved in a case. Students could attend more than one session, but only completed the questionnaire on the first occasion. The students were only assessed on the questions of the 3-4 disciplines represented in their session (12-16 questions). In addition students were asked questions regarding their view of multidisciplinary training using a 5-point Likert scale (1=strongly disagree, 5=strongly disagree). Results: 87 questionnaires were collected. 43 control group students (Questionnaire before simulation) and 44 experimental group students (Questionnaire after simulation). Participants were: Adult (n=42)-Children (n=4)-Learning Disability (n=9) Nurses, Paramedics (n=12), Radiographers (n=20), Physiotherapists (n=8). Both groups were comparable in terms of gender, discipline and age representation. 13 sessions were run with 7 participants on average and at least 3 disciplines represented. Knowledge of the disciplines represented was reliably different between the control and experimental groups (Control 73.9%, 95% CI 70.9-76.9; and Experimental 78.5%, 95% CI 75.1-81.9, p=0.04). In addition there were reliable differences between the groups in their view of multidisciplinary training; confidence about working as part of a multidisciplinary team was 3.28 (SD=0.77, Control) and 3.82 (SD=0.79, Experimental), p=0.002; the perception of their knowledge of what other healthcare professionals can or cannot do was 2.93 (SD=0.86, Control) and 3.41 (SD=0.95, Experimental), p=0.015; their view that learning with other healthcare students before qualification will improve their relationship after qualification was 3.93 (SD=1.14, Control) and 4.39 (SD=0.78, Experimental), p=0.032; their opinion about interprofessional learning helping them to become better team worker before qualification was 3.93 (SD=1.26, Control) and 4.39 (SD=0.78, Experimental), p=0.045. Conclusions/Discussion: Although the difference is relatively small, the results demonstrate that students gained confidence and knowledge about the skills and role of other disciplines involved in their session. Through simulation, the positivism of students about different aspects of multidisciplinary learning has significantly improved. The aim is now to formally include this session within their curriculum. The main challenges have been voluntary student attendance, timetabling issues due to the number of disciplines involved in each session, and higher than expected staff to student ratio due to poor attendance.