Background Simulation training is embedded in postgraduate medical training and there is literature to validate its use in undergraduate education supporting student exposure to end of life scenarios.
Fourth Year University of Leicester students receive communication skills training during their cancer care block focused on challenging conversations; this has always evaluated extremely well.
The opening of new facilities at LOROS offered an opportunity to pilot clinical simulation sessions. An initial pilot assessed the appetite of medical students for more practical based simulation scenarios.
Method Two medical students surveyed their year group revealing limited simulation exposure and an appetite for this form of teaching. Two pilot sessions involving 13 students were then evaluated; these simulations included assessment of pain, agitation and breathlessness, opioid prescribing, sharing imaging results and withdrawing treatment in the context of a palliative or oncology patient. Such sessions are now embedded in the undergraduate cancer care course; on-going evaluation will inform further development.
Results The pilot evaluated positively with 100% students rating the session as useful and reflective of situations they expected to face as an FY1. Feedback is being collected for all sessions this academic year including free text responses and a 5 point scale rating.
From the first 29 students; 100% found the simulation both challenging and useful. 93% felt it was relevant to FY1, and the de-brief constructive. Opinion regarding the ideal length of scenario and level of difficulty varied.
Conclusions Initial results suggest that although challenging, the simulation session have improved confidence in common oncology/palliative care scenarios adding value to their communication skills session. A second arm of the project involves students in further development of simulation scenarios. Developing an offer of simulation to a wider health care professional audience is also planned.
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