Author: Patel P and Cartledge J Publication Year: 2014
Summary: Despite the benefits of simulation training, some individuals may react adversely. There are no formal guidelines for trainers in managing vulnerable learners. This study develops a model that describes process that may address the needs of individual learners.
Description: Background: The stresses of being observed in a simulated environment may differ to those of learning in other situations. Despite best measures taken by faculty, there may be potential for negative impacts on individuals. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences, attitudes and beliefs of trainers regarding these effects.

Methods: Focus groups at two simulation centres sought to explore the potential for negative impacts from simulation based education, contributory factors and measures to address this. The data was thematically analysed.

Results: Negative impacts upon individuals were uncommon but difficult to identify. Potential consequences were fear of judgement, negative self-perception, comparison with peers, reduced confidence, and barriers to future learning. Contributory factors included learner personality and experiences, course design and the feedback process. A supportive environment, faculty development and adoption of a follow up process was seen as key in minimising adverse effects.

Discussion: Despite the benefits of simulation training, some individuals may react adversely. There are no formal guidelines for trainers in managing vulnerable learners. Based on this study, we have developed a model that describes how course design, faculty development and the debriefing process may address this issue and meet the needs of individual learners.

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