Residents’ perceptions of simulation as a clinical learning approach

  • Catharine M Walsh The Research and Learning Institutes and the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Hospital for Sick Children Department of Paediatrics and the Wilson Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Ankit Garg Division of Gastroenterology, St. Michael’s Hospital Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Stella L Ng Centre for Faculty Development, Centre for Ambulatory Care Education, and the Wilson Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Fenny Goyal Division of Gastroenterology, St. Michael’s Hospital Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Samir C. Grover Division of Gastroenterology, St. Michael’s Hospital Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Keywords: • Simulation, Education, Medical, Graduate, Internship and Residency, Qualitative methodology, Trainee perspectives

Abstract

Background: Simulation is increasingly being integrated into medical education; however, there is little research into trainees’ perceptions of this learning modality. We elicited trainees’ perceptions of simulation-based learning, to inform how simulation is developed and applied to support training.

Methods: We conducted an instrumental qualitative case study entailing 36 semi-structured one-hour interviews with 12 residents enrolled in an introductory simulation-based course. Trainees were interviewed at three time points: pre-course, post-course, and 4-6 weeks later. Interview transcripts were analyzed using a qualitative descriptive analytic approach.

Results: Residents’ perceptions of simulation included: 1) simulation serves pragmatic purposes; 2) simulation provides a safe space; 3) simulation presents perils and pitfalls; and 4) optimal design for simulation: integration and tension. Key findings included residents’ markedly narrow perception of simulation’s capacity to support non-technical skills development or its use beyond introductory learning.

Conclusion: Trainees’ learning expectations of simulation were restricted. Educators should critically attend to the way they present simulation to learners as, based on theories of problem-framing, trainees’ a priori perceptions may delimit the focus of their learning experiences. If they view simulation as merely a replica of real cases for the purpose of practicing basic skills, they may fail to benefit from the full scope of learning opportunities afforded by simulation. 

Published
2017-02-24
Section
Major Contributions