The Effectiveness of Low-fidelity Simulation as a Method of Teaching Clinical Communication Skills to Medical Students

Conference: The European Conference on Education (ECE2020)
Title: The Effectiveness of Low-fidelity Simulation as a Method of Teaching Clinical Communication Skills to Medical Students
Stream: Learning Experiences, Student Learning & Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Authors:
Arabella Watkins, St George's, University of London, United Kingdom
Aoife Lillis, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, United Kingdom
Michael Wilde, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, United Kingdom
Joseph Wenden, St George's, University of London, United Kingdom

Abstract:

Background: Good communication skills are essential to a being competent doctor. This study evaluated the effectiveness of low-fidelity simulation-based medical education (SBME) as a method for teaching communication skills to medical students. The focus was clinical handover – a topic commonly cited as a source of medical error. Methods: 40 participants were recruited and allocated to either: Group A (received only a handover lecture) or Group B (received the same lecture followed by low-fidelity simulation). Their confidence levels in completing handover was assessed. The students then participated in a mock-OSCE as an objective indication of their handover ability. Results: 91% of participants had received either “none” or only “some” formal handover teaching and half felt “not confident at all” in undertaking handover in a real clinical setting. After the teaching sessions, there was a significant difference in the confidence levels and perceived quality of teaching for Group B (who had received simulation), compared to Group A. There was no significant difference in the m-OSCE performance data between the groups. Conclusion: There is an evident lacking of formal handover teaching in the curriculum, which urgently needs to be addressed. Simulation can provide an effective learning environment in which to resolve this issue. SBME has been shown to positively influence the confidence levels of medical students and offer a higher perceived quality of teaching. Further research is required to establish how the optimistic experience of simulation translates into competence.