The work of senior lecturers’ Dr Cameron Knott, Pam Harvey and Adele Callaghan was presented at the inaugural congress. The event bought together three simulation conferences for the first time - SimHealth, SimTech and the International Simulation and Gaming Association (ISAGA).
Monash Rural Health has long researched, developed and practised the use of simulation as a teaching modality for medical students and other healthcare workers and students. It is delivered across the school’s numerous regional sites, often within dedicated simulated suites. “Simulation, as a teaching method, involves students practising skills relevant to their profession while being in a safe and supportive simulated learning environment,” Ms Harvey said.
Deteriorating patients and junior doctors
Her subsequent report was co-authored by Dr Knott, an intensive care physician at Austin Health and Bendigo Health who is also an academic lead at Monash Rural Health Bendigo’s Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre.
“Recognising the deteriorating patient is a crucial skill for junior doctors,” Ms Callaghan said, “so we focus on the communication and procedural skills that need to be applied in the time before the response team arrives.” Initial findings showed students had applied the skills learned through simulation, in clinical practice – a result Ms Callaghan said would help to inform curriculum for future students.
Breaking bad newsMs Harvey’s research studied the effect of a series of simulated workshops teaching communication skills associated with breaking bad news. Students practised breaking bad news before being videoed performing this in a mock exam situation where they were assessed by doctors.
She said the research showed the effectiveness of this teaching approach. “Gaining a perception of what the patient understands about their situation is very important when the news you need to deliver is not good,” Ms Harvey said. “Unless you know where the patient is at, you can’t empathetically and appropriately communicate at a time when we know communication influences patient outcomes.”