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Preliminary Report

Clinical simulators: applications and implications for rural medical education

Submitted: 1 December 2005
Revised: 9 May 2006
Published: 7 June 2006

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Author(s) : Ypinazar VA, Margolis SA.

Valmae YpinazarStephen Margolis

Citation: Ypinazar VA, Margolis SA.  Clinical simulators: applications and implications for rural medical education. Rural and Remote Health 6: 527. (Online) 2006. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au

ABSTRACT

Medical education has undergone significant changes globally. Calls for the revitalisation of centuries old pathways of learning have resulted in innovative medical curricula. Didactic modes of teaching which involved the learning of copious amounts of facts have given way to curricula that focus on the horizontal and vertical integration of basic and clinical sciences. Increasing concern for patient care and safety has led to a ‘gap’ between the needs of medical students to acquire necessary psychomotor skills and the safety and wellbeing of the patient. This has resulted in alternate teaching methods that include non-patient based training for the acquisition of clinical skills. The use of computerised, full-sized human simulators provides medical students with the necessary psychomotor and clinical reasoning skills in a realistic learning environment, while remaining risk free to patients. These clinical simulators are powerful learning tools that have applications at all levels of medical education across multiple disciplines, emphasising the multidisciplinary approach required in many medical situations. This article reviews the literature on medical simulation and provides the contextual basis for the establishment of a Clinical Simulation Learning Centre (CSLC) in a rural clinical school in Australia. The educational program, as well as the design, layout and equipment of the CSLC are described, as well as implications for rural practitioners. The CSLC has been a major capital investment in a relatively under-resourced part of regional Australia and has provided opportunities for ongoing education across a range of healthcare professionals in the community.

Key words:  clinical simulators, crisis resource management, continuing medical education, medical education, simulation.

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