For the AMEE Simulation Committee Dr. Paul Murphy presents a report on simulation-based teaching and research at Queen’s University, Belfast


Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) have actively engaged in interdisciplinary undergraduate and postgraduate education for health care professionals and drama students providing opportunities for cross pollination of ideas and practices across the two programs.

Students are introduced into interdisciplinary learning with ‘Drama, Health and Social Care’: an undergraduate interdisciplinary module taught in collaboration with the Medicine (patient safety), physiology and social work programs both sharing a focus on high-fidelity simulation-based education. Several theorists from the worlds of theatre, sociology and simulation research form the basis for the student’s learning.

The undergraduate drama students are introduced to Konstantin Stanislavski’s innovative, eclectic approach to performance as well as Erving Goffman’s observations on micro-interactions, and John Keller’s Attention, Relevance, Confidence, Satisfaction. (ARCS) model approach to learning and performance. They are then engaged in scenario-based education with staff and students in various healthcare and social care subject areas. The module was awarded a Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) excellence in teaching in a team award in 2017.

Another module, ‘Drama and Mental Health’ emerged in response to a high level of interest demonstrated by healthcare professionals in the ‘Drama, Health and Social Care’ module. Drama students in this course are trained in elements of acting discipline developed by luminaries such as Stanislavski, Michael Chekhov and Sanford Meisner. This learning is augmented with research on the sociology of emotion and recent developments in psychiatry and neuroscience. The Drama students subsequently engage in high-fidelity scenario-based training with multi-disciplinary teams involving staff at various stages of career progression in emergency medicine, general practice, psychiatry, public health, paediatrics and social work.
Both modules involve close liaison with staff and on-site visits to local hospitals in the Belfast area. Some students from these modules were involved in a pioneering training course on 5 Dec 2019 in coordination with the Royal College of Psychiatry, Northern Ireland, in to develop simulation-based training for staff involved in implementing the Mental Capacity Act (NI) 2016 delivered at the Museum Arts Centre (MAC), Belfast.
Figure 1. Photograph taken from ‘Sudden unexpected death of infant (SUDI)’ scenario on the ‘Drama, Health and Social Care’ module, 2017.

Figure 2. photograph taken from ‘Bruise in non-mobile infant’ scenario on the ‘Drama, Health and Social Care’ module, 2017

Figure 3. photograph taken from interview with parents in ‘Suspected teenage self-harm’ scenario on the ‘Drama, Health and Social Care’ module, 2017