Through Step 2 preparation medical students in the pre-clinical years of medical school are familiar with simulations and comfortable with the experience. A computer-based simulation is available on their schedule and need not compete with their typically very busy schedule.
Simulation technology can expose students to the challenge of clinical care in a realistic and safe environment where strategies can be tested and outcomes assessed. Of the 80% of medical students who positively described their real-life clinical experiences, most credited supportive learning environments (35%) and hands-on experiences (32%)1. A simulation provides such a supportive experience. In a simulation a student can comfortably identify and adapt to stress and making forward-looking changes that build longer-term resilience, an essential component of avoiding burnout.
The individual focus of simulations supports attention, exploration, and confidence in asking questions. In contrast, learning in teams may not always be optimal, especially in situations like pandemics. In fact, team size negatively affected students’ learning experiences2. Students in larger groups were less able or willing to ask questions or share opinions on cases, potentially due to time constraints and traditional hierarchy issues seen in groups1. The latter issue may be especially problematic for women and minorities.
Skill training simulations successfully impart health behavior change3–6. Simulations support positive emotions, engagement, social integration, and connectedness3–5. A meta-analysis found that simulations increased self-efficacy in a variety of clinical skills by 20%, declarative knowledge by 11%, procedural knowledge by 14%, and retention by 9% more than control approaches7. Increased self-efficacy is a key component of decreasing the stress of real-world clerkship experiences and preparedness8. In sum, a simulation can provide an individualized, scaleable, reproducible, comprehensive, and standardized experience offering preparatory guidance to the clinical care challenges that await the medical student.
- Ofei-Dodoo S, Goerl K, Moser S. Exploring the Impact of Group Size on Medical Students’ Perception of Learning and Professional Development During Clinical Rotations Kans J Med. 2018;11(3):70-75.
- Kandiah DA. Perception of Educational Value in Clinical Rotations by Medical Students Adv Med Educ Pract. 2017;8:149-162. doi:10.2147/AMEP.S129183.
- Riva G. What Is Positive Technology and Its Impact on Cyberpsychology Stud Health Technol Inform. 2012;181:37-41.
- Riva G, Baños RM, Botella C, Wiederhold BK, Gaggioli A. Positive Technology: Using Interactive Technologies to Promote Positive Functioning Cyberpsychology Behav Soc Netw. 2012;15(2):69-77. doi:10.1089/cyber.2011.0139.
- Argenton L, Triberti S, Serino S, Muzio M, Riva G. Serious Games as Positive Technologies for Individual and Group Flourishing. In: Brooks AL, Brahnam S, Jain LC, eds. Technologies of Inclusive Well-Being. Vol 536. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg; 2014:221-244. http://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-3-642-45432-5_11. Accessed October 26, 2016.
- Baranowski T. Games and Childhood Obesity Games Health J. 2013;2(3):113-115. doi:https://doi.org/10.1089/g4h.2013.1502.
- Sitzmann T. A Meta-Analytic Examination of the Instructional Effectiveness of Computer-Based Simulation Games Pers Psychol. 2011;64(2):489-528. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6570.2011.01190.x.
- Bosch J, Maaz A, Hitzblech T, Holzhausen Y, Peters H. Medical students’ preparedness for professional activities in early clerkships. BMC Med Educ. 2017;17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5568232/. Accessed January 5, 2019 doi:10.1186/s12909-017-0971-7.
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Founder, President, and Vision Leader: Bradley Tanner, MD, ME