A new age approach to an age old problem: using simulation to teach geriatric medicine to medical students
simulation-based teaching is increasingly used in medical education, but no studies have evaluated its impact on learning in geriatric medicine. We developed and delivered a simulation teaching session on delirium, falls, elder abuse and breaking bad news. Simulation mannequins, professional role-players and simulated clinical documentation were all incorporated into scenarios. We evaluated the effect of this intervention on student learning and on students’ attitudes towards geriatric medicine.
third year Newcastle University MBBS students at Northumbria base unit received the simulation-based teaching session. Students’ knowledge was assessed using a three question test mapped to learning outcomes for the elder abuse, delirium and falls stations. Each student undertook the test on three occasions: the day before the teaching session, immediately after the session and ∼1 month later, allowing evaluation of learning over time. Test scores were also compared with those achieved by another cohort of third year MBBS students at a different base unit, who received traditional ward-based and didactic teaching but no simulation teaching.
student knowledge improved significantly after the simulation session and this was maintained when reassessed a month later. Students who received the simulation-based training outperformed those who received usual teaching. Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive and the vast majority of students agreed that the session had a positive impact on their perceptions of geriatric medicine.Discussion: our findings demonstrate the efficacy of simulation-based teaching in undergraduate geriatric medicine, its acceptability to students and its positive influence on students’ perceptions of the specialty.