Medical students as Simulation educators and methods of training them

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Shinjan Shoilee, a third-year medical student, at Bangladesh Medical College, Dhaka, Bangladesh. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Medical students are the major stakeholders in the medical education system. They are directly impacted by the education system.

Medical students being the stakeholders, their involvement helps to improve the education system, as per the results of various studies. 

Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota, had formulated a program for students, to enhance inclusiveness, team dynamics, patients’ safety and satisfaction, by engaging medical students as simulation educators. The senior students were trained to run the simulation to train their junior classmates. At the end of the program, the results were published based on 2 types of evaluations–

•The MCQ-based tests students had taken to evaluate their understanding

•A learner’s satisfactory survey after they participated in the simulation

These results were contrasted to the ones where faculties were appointed as educators. The results turned out to be almost similar, with more positive feedback from the learners. There were modules that the junior students failed to understand previously. The senior students used to break these down into small fragments, making it easier for the students to grasp.

Back in the time, students used to get into Residency first, and then learn the skills they needed. But now, it is sort of expected from the residents to already have known the skills. A part of them knowing the skill also involves them being trustworthy. This is the ground for the development of Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) 

Rapid Cycle Deliberation Practice (RCDP) may be considered an effective method of learning in EPAs. This method was developed by Johns Hopkins University in 2012. It is a simulation-based teaching method, that provides immediate feedback.

Here, for every 2 students, 1 instructor is assigned. The goal of it is to learn the skill and remember it later. The instructor stops the students as soon as they make any mistakes, corrects them, and carries on with the simulation. The simulation is repeated until they get it 100% correct. 

To achieve this level of mastery, it takes about 6-11 repetitions (or more, depending on the skill) of the activity. This helps students to remember it in the future, say a few years later. So, it’s a tool for achieving EPAs.

Here, the following are to be noted–

• A 6-month follow-up is necessary to observe how much the students remember 

• It requires time and personnel training for this style of teaching.

About the author

Shinjan Shoilee, is a third-year medical student, at Bangladesh Medical College, Dhaka, Bangladesh. The author completed her secondary and higher secondary education at Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, Dhaka. She is working as a Local Officer on Research Exchange, at BMSS, IFMSA. Apart from pursuing medicine, she bears an interest in learning different languages, reciting poetry and singing.

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