Acquisition of knowledge of other healthcare disciplines through simulation
Introduction : Students have few opportunities to practise alongside other disciplines. Simulation offers an ideal context to provide experience in a safe and controlled environment to junior trainees. This project explores whether simulation improves trainees’ knowledge of other healthcare discipline roles and skills. Methods: 95 students were involved in small groups to one of fifteen 3-hour multi-professional simulation sessions1 using simulated patients and SimMan in the community or emergency department. Each session had 3-4 disciplines (Adult/Children/Learning Disability Nursing, Paramedic, Radiography, Physiotherapy) and each student observed and took part in one long and relevant high-fidelity2 scenario. Half the students were randomly selected to fill in a 40-item questionnaire testing their knowledge of other disciplines before the simulation (Control group) and the others after (Experimental group). Students were assessed on the questions of the disciplines represented in their session. Results: A t-test was used to compare the mean scores of both groups. The hypothesis to test is m1=m2 versus m1≠m2 with m1= control group mean score and m2= experimental group mean score. The p-value is 0.0195 with m1=73.80 and m2=78.81: the t-test rejects the hypothesis of equality of the means. Experimental group marks are significantly higher than control group marks (Fig.1). Conclusions: Students gained knowledge of other disciplines thanks to the scenarios. They are better prepared to enter the inter-professional healthcare workforce. Discussions during the debriefings highlighted the fact that multi-disciplinary training is important. Introducing it in the undergraduate curriculum should facilitate its implementation as Continuing Professional Development once these students become qualified healthcare professionals3.