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To sum up

Simulation is widely used to introduce and develop clinical skills and mould future behaviours in undergraduate and post-qualification education and training with huge benefits for patients and learners when used appropriately and effectively. As with any learning intervention, planning and preparation is vital; know your equipment and make sure technical support is available if required. Teachers need to ensure that simulation activities help learners to achieve defined learning outcomes, that the simulation and scenario is relevant to ‘real world’ learning, that feedback is built into the process and that learners are enabled to transfer the learning into the clinical context. There is no ‘one size fits all’ and the wide range of simulators available means that teachers can easily incorporate some sort of simulation activity into learning.

Finally, particularly for complex simulations, make sure that the benefits of using simulation outweigh the costs of time for faculty, technical support, space and equipment purchases.

  • Simulation experiences include simple models, simulated patients, computer-based virtual reality simulators and mock clinical facilities.
  • Effective simulation includes preparation, link to clear learning outcomes, deliberate practice and feedback.
  • Simulation is widely used in health professionals’ education and training.
  • Simulation can help reduce error, increase patient safety and develop more competent practitioners.
  • It is most effective for training in technical or practical skills and for non-technical skills in team situations.


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