What is simulation?
Simulation-based education is a teaching strategy for health professional education that is increasingly used in clinical education settings throughout Australia.
The simulation is described as “an imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system.” In the education of health professionals, it is “a technique to replace or extend real experiences with directed experiences, often of an immersive nature, that evoke or replicate aspects of the real world in an interactive way.”
It is not a technology; is the reenactment of real-life events in which people can participate “as if” for real, giving them opportunities to practice and hone their skills. In other words, simulation is an educational activity where reality is recreated to allow people to immerse themselves in an experience and learn from that experience.
In physical therapy education, it involves students interacting as “therapists” in a clinical setting with a “patient”, where they assess and treat the patient as if it were real. After the simulation, a debriefing is conducted so that feedback can be shared and learning points clarified for future improved practices.
Simulation-based education is very effective for physical therapy education and provides excellent learning opportunities for physical therapists who are personable and directly support the development of competencies to practice physical therapy.
We are passionate about simulation education because it provides immersive experiences for professionals that look and feel like the real clinical environment. Furthermore, simulation education is free from the risks associated with “real” patients, meaning that if a mistake is made, learning can occur and patients are not harmed. This allows educators to specifically tailor learning experiences to the needs and goals of professionals.
Purpose of simulation-based learning in physical therapy
To review the literature on simulation-based learning experiences and examine their potential to have a positive impact on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of physical therapy (PT) students in practice entry curricula. Method: A systematic bibliographic hunt was carried out in MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase Classic + Embase, Scopus and Web of Science databases, using keywords such as physiotherapy, simulation, education and scholars. Results: A total of 820 abstracts were selected and 23 articles were included in the systematic review. While there were few randomized skillful trials with validated consequence measures, some findings of simulation may positively affect the design of entry-level PT curricula.
Using simulators to provide specific exit feedback can help students learn specific skills. Computer simulations can also enhance the learning experience for students. The experiences of human simulation in the management of the acute patient in the ICU are well received by the students, they positively influence their confidence and reduce their anxiety. There is evidence that simulated learning environments can replace a part of a full-time 4-week clinical rotation without affecting learning. Conclusions: Simulation-based learning activities are being incorporated effectively into PE curricula. More rigorously designed experimental studies that include a cost-benefit analysis are needed to help curriculum developers make informed decisions in curriculum design.
Background and objective
The last decade has seen the proliferation of simulation in health education. This trend has come to physical therapy education and is redefining the experiences of physical therapy students. It has great potential for controlled experiential learning that can be programmed to gain essential competencies that may not be predictable encounters during clinical internships.
It can also engage beginning students in high-risk / low-frequency clinical events that have a low tolerance for error within a learning experience that does not pose risk to real patients. Within the clinical practice, it can support skill development, ongoing competence, and be part of a risk management approach to review a breakdown of care, assess an event close to an accident, or rehearse new procedures for a flow job. Simulations must be carefully designed, executed and followed with structured and effective debriefing to achieve positive learning that will translate into better clinical practice.
Position and foundation
Healthcare simulation is a powerful instructional method based on learning theory and behaviour change theory that can be implemented in physical therapy education and practice development to achieve learning outcomes. It is not designed based on laboratory or phantom capacity;
It is an instructional method based on learning objectives focused on the needs and preparation of students. The experience must be carefully written to expose the clinical decision-making of the students that guide action or inaction. The debriefing approach is an essential instructional element in the simulation that serves to uncover student decision frameworks so that instruction can be strategically adapted to build positive experiential learning.
Discussion and conclusion
It can be a very effective instructional tool, but it is time and resource consuming. For positive experiential learning through simulation, recognized and evidence-based strategies can be adapted to the context of physical therapy practice. It opens the door to enriching learning experiences that have the potential to achieve the highest quality, safe, and interprofessional practice that future healthcare demands.