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The impact of clinical simulation on the development of advanced practice skills

11 August 2022
Volume 31 · Issue 15


This article considers the findings of a qualitative research study into the impact of simulation on the development of advanced clinical practitioners' skills and knowledge. Study aim: To explore simulated learning through the eyes of trainee and trained advanced clinical practitioners (ACPs) and consider its potential in supporting their development. Method: This qualitative research study explored the experiences of trained and trainee ACP volunteers undertaking a structured simulated event provided by a local acute hospital trust simulation team. A questionnaire (n=10) and a focus group (n=4) acted as the data gathering tools. Results: Although simulation can be daunting for the participants, the overwhelming outcome was positive. Participants stated that they gained confidence and suggested that simulation offered a safe place to practise the challenging scenarios that occur in the clinical environment. Additionally, they emphasised that simulation provided a place to network and receive constructive feedback that was non-judgemental, and which helped them to develop clinical knowledge and appreciate their limitations. Conclusion: Simulation is a valuable addition to the education and development of ACPs. It should be considered for inclusion within the educational curriculum as a supplement to theoretical knowledge and to the structured clinical supervision provided within the clinical environment.

COVID-19 has had an impact on teaching and learning, requiring education providers to seek innovative ways to adapt to such challenges. Lectures have been adjusted for online delivery, with technology, assessment and curriculum all requiring modification to address the developing situation. One such area that has grown in popularity during these challenging times is simulation (Hays et al, 2020).

Simulation offers a safe environment to practise, learn and discuss clinical practice without the threat of catastrophic consequences (So et al, 2019). Simulation-based education must focus on the safety of patients and therefore provide effective educational outcomes for those taking part (Health Education England (HEE), 2020). The development of competency frameworks that recognise nationally agreed key abilities and knowledge required for the delivery of safe advanced clinical practice is essential. Several authors have referred to the necessity of competent advanced clinical practice and therefore the need for supporting competency frameworks (Furlong and Smith, 2005; Bench et al, 2018; Dover et al, 2019). The required capabilities and competencies, aimed directly at advanced clinical practice, have subsequently been provided via such structures (Department of Health (DH), 2010; HEE, 2017; Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, 2018). Competency frameworks to address generalist capabilities have been developed by HEE (2017), with the addition of specialist competencies provided by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (2017), the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (2015) and the Royal College of General Practitioners (2015). The adoption of these capabilities into advanced clinical practice curricula is therefore advantageous and may support the development of knowledge and skill (Dover et al, 2019).

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