Using simulation to support doctors in difficulty

Kevin Stirling, George Hogg, Jean Ker, Fiona Anderson, Jennifer Hanslip, Derek Byrne

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: A small percentage of medical trainees will have performance concerns identified within their clinical practice. These trainees require specific interventions to address these concerns. The Postgraduate Ward Simulation Exercise (PgWSE) was developed as a joint collaboration between the University of Dundee and NHS Education for Scotland (NES). Context: The PgWSE takes around 90 minutes to complete. It allows assessors to directly observe the performance of trainees within a simulated ward environment. Trainees are assessed individually on their ability to prioritise competing demands, work as part of a team and make safe informed clinical decisions. Innovation: The PgWSE is the first specific national intervention to support the assessment and remediation of trainee doctors in difficulty. Nine PgWSE scenarios have been developed to reflect clinical practice: three in general surgery, four in general medicine and two in medicine for the elderly. To enhance realism, simulated patients (SPs) are recruited and trained for each exercise. Standardised assessment tools were developed and validated for assessors to make individual and consensus judgements regarding a trainee's performance. Self-assessment of performance is used to disengage trainees from the simulated activity and to prepare them for constructive feedback. Implications: The PgWSE has been shown to be a valuable tool for the management of trainee doctors in difficulty in Scotland. Although the PgWSE is time and resource intensive, it has been shown to have a positive impact on the remediation of trainees and in the provision of objective, detailed and comprehensive feedback to the referring deanery. Within NES there are four geographical centres led by a postgraduate dean with responsibility for supervision of postgraduate medical education.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)285-9
    Number of pages5
    JournalClinical Teacher
    Issue number5
    Early online date21 Sept 2012
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


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