The COVID-19 pandemic has caused universities around the world to shut down, potentially delaying graduation for a new generation of healthcare workers (HCWs) just when they are needed most. As a result, some universities are using remote learning simulation sessions to help students practice and hone skills and gain credits towards graduation.
According to a CNA news broadcast, students at Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine in Singapore have begun to train using simulated sessions instead of making rounds at a hospital. Under the supervision of a doctor, students examine, diagnose, and treat a simulated patient. These sessions allow students to apply what they have learned in the classroom and work hands-on to provide care.
During traditional clinical hours, students gain invaluable experience interacting with real patients. By thinking critically about a diagnosis and practicing procedures, students develop the skills needed to ensure patient safety and positive outcomes.
However, learning can often be opportunistic. This means that students only get to practice treating ailments as they present themselves. As a result, HCWs entering the workforce might have gaps in their knowledge, and their inexperience can cause them to make mistakes. Simulation-based training can be used to fill those gaps and ensure opportunities to practice are not missed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine to safely provide their students with the clinical internships they need to gain experience working with patients. Therefore, students are participating in simulation sessions that are designed to simulate common cases seen during clinical hours, such as patients with diabetes and high blood pressure.
The participants interact with the simulated patient the same way they would with a real patient. Participants are expected to diagnose the patient, prescribe medication, provide treatment, and perform many of the other activities doctors do during a real clinical event. Students receive feedback on their performance from a physician who monitors the session via Zoom.
Medical undergraduate Stanley Low says that the simulation sessions allow students to get better training. Low states: “The physician would highlight areas for improvement and focus on the finer details of the case, like management decisions – probing my prescription decisions and discussing the considerations of prescribing such medications.”
The simulated sessions provide a safe and controlled setting wherein participants can practice and hone their skills. If they make a mistake, the participant can practice until they have achieved clinical competence. This ensures that new doctors who graduate from Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine are experienced in providing patient care.