Simulation expert to enhance clinical learning
The evidence is mounting that 'real' simulation provides experiences which enhance the confidence and clinical abilities of medical students.
The Bachelor of Medicine - Joint Medical Program (JMP) is focussing on developing its programs to benefit from simulation technology.
What is simulation?
Simulation is a way of providing real-life clinical situations in a safe and motivating environment. Student learning is supported by simulations of various types including:
- anatomically authentic computer-controlled manikins using realistic medical scenarios
- other scenarios that do not depend on high technology
- simulated patients - volunteers or actors who can realistically and reliably portray people with various illnesses.
Students world-wide value this type of experience as an effective adjunct to more traditional medical learning experiences. They report that having simulated experience in common clinical situations gives them confidence and increases their ability to manage real clinical situations.
Our JMP Clinical Schools are equipped with facilities for students to learn the full spectrum of medical scenarios from medical emergencies to obstetric cases. Among them are a range of life-sized medical simulation manikins including a baby, small child and male and female adults that can be programmed to replicate various medical situations.
As well as scenarios like childbirth and respiratory failure, students can experience a simulated emergency room environment, treating continually deteriorating 'patients' after a serious accident. This gives students a very real insight into trauma treatment.
Staff are also receiving training in delivering simulated learning experiences. The School of Rural Medicine, at UNE (a partner of the JMP*), recently ran a two day course involving multidisciplinary teams working together in simulated clinical sessions. Participants worked at honing their skills in developing SIMs, debriefing participants and learning from a participant's perspective. Their learning will increase the schools ability to incorporate simulation into teaching practice for JMP students based at UNE.
Ideal time for new Professor to lead the way
The JMP has been building its simulation capacity including recent openings of new centres in Newcastle and Wyong. It has now appointed, Professor Brian Jolly, previous past Chair of the Australian Society for Simulation in Healthcare, to lead the Medical Education Unit in supporting activities of curriculum improvement and development, teaching, learning, assessment and evaluation.
Professor Brian Jolly's experience in developing simulated education programs will help the JMP to build simulation design and construction processes into its new curriculum.
"There have been tremendous advances in instructional design and simulation development and both of these must be taken advantage of as much as possible to create truly engaging learning environments," said Professor Jolly.
"Research has shown there is a significant improvement in students' capabilities if they have learned clinical procedures in a simulated environment rather than observing a real life clinical situation.
"As the JMP is currently reviewing its curriculum it is an ideal time to look at addressing ever more complex learning outcomes through integrated use of face to face and technical simulation as part of that process," said Professor Jolly.
Professor Jolly has longstanding interests and expertise in simulation, assessment, clinical teaching, clinical skills development, and research design and statistics developed over 30 years of working in medical education.
School very fortunate
Professor Ian Symonds, Dean of Medicine - JMP, said the school is very fortunate to recruit someone of such calibre to the position of Director of Medical Education in the JMP.
"Professor Jolly's experience in the development of clinical education generally and in the use of simulation for learning and assessment will help build the partnership between the disciplines in clinical practice, the clinical schools and medical education.
"This partnership will strengthen the educational quality of the program through research, assessment and review to prepare our students for work as well prepared, quality graduate doctors," said Professor Symonds.
*The JMP is an expansion of the highly successful University of Newcastle Bachelor of Medicine program in partnership with the University of New England, Hunter New England Health and Central Coast Health.